NICO – CHELSEA GIRL (1967)
Album Review from AlohaPopRock-AlohaCriticon
After taking part, thanks to Andy Warhol in the recording of the first and mythical Velvet Underground’s fist LP, the blonde German model Nico initiated her career as a soloist and recorded Chelsea Girl with the help of her former velvetian colleagues Lou Reed and John Cale plus Jackson Browne and Tom Wilson. Browne, who is said to have had a love affair at the same time of the recording, left his mark in some of the themes and the second had previously work with Bob Dylan or Simon & Garfunkel.
The album is basically formed by elaborate folk songs with poetical and reflexive lyrics in an introspective, sad tone, beautifully ornamented by violins and strings. The overture of the album, The Fairiest of the Seasons, a nice melody composed by Jackson Browne and Gregory Copeland and exquisitely orchestral arranged. There is no doubt that this is the best part of the LP.
John Cale and Lou Reed are the authors of Little Sister, bucolic flutes, lyrics with natural imaginery and a lysergic organ. Maybe one can find the cold and depressive interpretation of Nico weary.
Cale deals with the atmospheric Winter Song, with evocative string arrangements, flutes and a perturbing acoustic guitar background for a folk piece with medieval-teutonic echoes.
Nico appears in It was a Pleasure Then accompanied by John Cale and Lou Reed in a folk song with a velvetian essence ( classic avant garde conceits, feedback sounds, shaggy and booming guitars, dark atmospheres, screeching violas and evocative vocals.
The homonymous title (in plural), composed by Reed and Sterling Morrison (the Velvet’s guitarist) returns us the sounds of flutes, the beauty of strings together with a charming melody and a long walk with the girls of Chelsea.
Bob Dylan wrote the estimable ( but minor if we compare it to the rest of Dylan’s production) I’ll Keep it with mine and Jackson Browne Somethere There’s a Feather, another beautiful melody decorated with strings.
Wrap your troubles in dreams is another piece of Lou Read in which the possibility of escaping from the personal obstacles is paradoxically narrated by a sad and penetrating melody emphasized by string and wind instruments.
The album ends with Elogy to Lenny Bruce, a wonderful tune of the unappreciated Tim Hardin that resumes the sadness and melancholy that this work means.