Nico: the art and the heroin

I would like to start with saying that I’ve unfortunately lost my computer to a bout with gravity that involved rolling in one’s sleep and a lot (and I do mean a lot) of swearing. That being said, I had another video of this song where it’s performed live with Lou Reed and John Cale of Velvet Underground fame but because my school computers do not have speakers, decided to play it safe due to the unsure quality of the audio.
As many know record store day was April 19th, the day before Easter, and like thousands of other dedicated music lovers went to my local record store with eager anticipation. What I found I did not expect. Being a known face at Zeebeedee’s (my particular favorite store) I found that it was packed. Just down the street another record store had a line that wrapped around the building. Work nearing I was forced to leave and come back during my break only to find almost everything gone.
Attempting to try a new place that seemed so popular I found it almost equally wiped clean and decided to start browsing the CD section. What I found was the entire discography of Nick Drake (a personal favorite whom I’ve blogged about before) and this collection of two Nico albums that were mixed with the help of John Cale. Nico, having met fame through mostly sexual encounters (including but not limited to Brian Jones, Lou Reed, James Brown and even Leonard Cohen) fell in love with the harmonium after making Chelsea Girl (which I only recently found out was a disaster in her own eyes).
These two albums are some haunting murals of her already haphazard life. The booklet I think aptly described her “Valkyrie voice” combined with the drone of the harmonium as one of the truly great works of song.
In many ways Nico (whom I have blogged about before) has continued to infatuate me with her quirks and personality which I am only able to experience through second hand stories and articles. Obviously the “real” Nico will never be able to truly unfold to me, but many of her closest confidants have cited these works as her favorite works. While the albums may be a bit pretentious (as was many of the works created by the “workers in song” of the era) it can still be said that as far as an attempt to truly try something different and create a personal touch to music, Nico made it her life’s work.
The unfortunate final years of her life where spent with her son and also in an attempt to find her next heroin fix, leading many to regard her final works of music simply attempts to make money for the addiction, the pieces we find here are the nice in between, showing not just a junkie’s work, but a woman in transition from child to adult dealing with the harsh and in many ways unflattering realities of life.
In my own words, I hope I don’t sound elitist, but I write how I do. In my own words, sit back, relax, and listen.


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