Velvet Underground: Jesus
On the first album they gave us Heroin and Venus in Furs, on the second Sister Ray and White Light White Heat and on the third we got ... Jesus.
Years ago, whenever I queried this track people would tell me Lou Reed was being ironic. I wasn't sure about that then, less so now. It's too affecting to be ironic, nor does it have the desperation necessary for what some think is a junkie's lament. Lyrically it's a straightforward hymn, musically it's not too far removed from the basic keyboard arrangements the early protestants favoured. All in all it stands up today as a straightforward declaration of Christian love, something Pat Boone (see below) would feel perfectly comfortable crooning. Maybe Lou Reed was daring us to ask what was going on here. No journalist I'm aware of ever put the question to him. Maybe they were scared of the answer they'd get.
Guest post by John
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