77. Nico - Chelsea Girl (1967)
1. Fairest Of The Seasons
2. These Days
3. Little Sister
4. Winter Song
5. It Was A Pleasure Then
6. Chelsea Girl
7. I'll Keep It With Mine
8. Somewhere There's A Feather
9. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)
10. Eulogy To Lenny Bruce
You either love or hate Nico, I love her and my girlfriend hates her, so big arguments have been had around this album in the last few days. Not as big as the ones on Frank Zappa though. Well, saying that I love Nico might be an overstatement, but I do love the albums she put out mainly because she was smart enought to associate (and sometimes fuck) the right people at the right time.
This album is a perfect example of that, she takes Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison (a.k.a. Velvet Underground) and makes one of the loveliest and pretiest albums ever. If you can tolerate Nico singing that is. I admit that her voice is not easy to get into, as my girfriend says she sounds like an albatross, but a lovely albatross. The way she brings bleakness and depressiveness to the very beautiful songs in this album is something to be admired. In fact I found this album to be quite in the same vein as Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left with its beautiful but simple strings and great guitar playing. Strangely there is something of the Devendra Barnhart here as well, particularly in the first track.
Even if you can't take Nico's particular voice make an effort and repeated listenings to this will definitel improve you relationship to her. I really can't reccomend this album enough. It's Velvet Underground and Nico doing Folk, how much better can it be? There is one track here in the middle which goes much more to the experimental side, and that is It Was a Pleasure Then, but weirdly enough it works, it starts almost like a Sigur Ros soundscape and goes on to a feedback fest all the while making Nico shine as the most melodic tone in the song, which creates a perfect contrast to all other tracks where Nico is the perfect imperfection on the beautiful arrangements.
Stream it from Napster or Buy it from Amazon UK or US.
1. The Fairest of the Seasons
2. Chelsea Girls
3. It Was a Pleasure Then
4. These Days
5. I'll Keep it With Mine
I couldn't have just four.
She really can't sing...but still there's something there. Must be heroin.
Musically, Chelsea Girl is best described as a cross between chamber folk and Sixties pop. The musical backing is relatively simple, consisting of one or two guitars or, alternatively, a keyboard instrument, played by either Browne or (a combination of) her Velvet Underground colleagues. There are no drums or bass instruments. Adding to the chamber folk feel of the music is the strings and flute arrangement superimposed over the initial recordings by producer Tom Wilson and arranger Larry Fallon without involving or consulting Nico.
Nico was dissatisfied with the finished product. She had wanted more guitars plus bass and drums, but it was vetoed by the production team. Of the superimposed arrangements, she said she could live with the strings, but the flutes rendered the album unlistenable to her.
Because of the Velvet Underground band members involvement and the similarities with the softer The Velvet Underground and Nico tracks, Chelsea Girl is sometimes seen by fans as a companion record to that band's discography. Polydor (the record label that oversees The Velvet Underground's Universal Music Group back catalogue) tends to agree, adding Chelsea Girl tracks to Peel Slowly and See, the 2002 Deluxe edition of The Velvet Underground and Nico and the 2005 Velvet Underground compilation album Gold.