Saturday, February 23, 2013

40 Year Itch : The Worst Album of 1973?

Contrary to critical belief, Squeeze is not the worst album of 1973. Far from it. The reason critics have long derided the album is that the only member of the Velvet Underground who played on Squeeze was Doug Yule. Yule replaced John Cale in time to play and sing on two VU studio albums, 1969's The Velvet Underground and 1970's Loaded. Had Squeeze simply been sold as a Doug Yule solo album, it would be embraced these days as one of the era's great little nuggets.

But that's not what happened.

Polydor Records and VU manager Steve Sesnick made the sleazy deal to call the album recorded by Yule ( with Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice) a Velvet Underground album.  Yule never earned a duime from the album. To this day , Yule doesn't feel good about what happened. He told The Huffington Post's Steven Shehori :

"To me it's so far in the past, and there was so much emotion tied up in how I was treated by Sesnick, I don't think I can have an objective view of it. Admittedly at the time, I was very confident about it. I was really having a good time and I enjoyed the tunes."

If you give Squeeze a chance, you'd enjoy the tunes as well. The 11 hook-filled songs give off a real Loaded vibe. I'd even say it's a far more consistent effort than that first Lou Reed solo album.

But it still barely ranks as a footnote in the Velvet Underground legacy.

Still rock fans should note: this is the album that helped Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford come up with an alternative to the name of their band Captain Trundlow's Sky Company.

As Tilbrook told Glide Magazine:

“The Velvet Underground had a really bad album out at the time when they were without Lou Reed or John Cale and it was called ‘Squeeze’. We thought it would be funny to name it after that.”

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