White Light/White Heat

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
Critic Score
Based on 5 reviews
1968 Ratings: #24 / 78
User Score
Based on 696 ratings
1968 Ratings: #4
Liked by 24 people
January 30, 1968 / Release Date
LP / Format
Verve / Label
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While The Velvet Underground and Nico sounded like an open challenge to conventional notions of what rock music could sound like (or what it could discuss), 1968's White Light/White Heat was a no-holds-barred frontal assault on cultural and aesthetic propriety.

When the Velvet Underground's second album descended on the world in January, 1968, nobody was ready for it. As the story goes, it was a relentless, screeching, thudding, scoffing assault on the pop sensibilities of its time.
It’s difficult but never (or almost never) intentionally so. It’s aggressive but never nihilistic. It’s noisy but within that noise is beautiful sounds, brilliant songs.
Rolling Stone

Most hard-core and No Wave fringe rock today has nothing on White Light/White Heat for sheer industrial discord and locomotive propulsion.


White Light/White Heat stands against beauty, like Frankenstein masquerading behind the withered portrait of Dorian Grey. And while beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, anything in the world can be quantified and standardized to a point-nine-nine-nine degree sense of objectivity, if so desired.

This album was the beginning of noise rock. This album was the beginning of avant-garde aspects being used in rock. This album was the starting point for genres like shoegaze, which utilize noise and unorthodox styles of production. TVU crafted such a pristine album in White Light/White Heat that writing about it really doesn't do it any justice. It is impossible to stop mid-album, as the flow is so consistent and there is always something to look ahead to. It is argued by millions what ... read more
Recently I’ve found some time to come back and listen to some beloved records that I haven’t checked out in a long time. Once I stumbled upon The Velvet Underground’s discography I realised that, for unknown reasons, I’ve never really listened closely to „White Light/White Heat”, so I decided to jump right into this record and finally give it a close listen. Once I finished this album at like 1 am, I literally couldn’t sleep for the whole night.

Wow, ... read more
Now look, I get that this album is groundbreaking, influential and all that jazz but I don't enjoy all that much, I find the production to be way too muddy majority of the time and I feel like this thing could've turned out so much better. Believe me I want to enjoy this but I just cant enjoy it in its entirety, I will say though Sister Ray is an awesome track.
Where's Waldo?
While "The Velvet Underground & Nico" laid the groundwork for a sound way ahead of its time, "White Light/White Heat" perfects it into what is, in my opinion, their greatest achievement in the up-and-coming underground music scene. THIS is the true godfather of noise rock, which might actually be unintentional since the poor budget and feedback issues are the key factors into making this noisy and overbearing atmosphere. The instrumentals are meticulously-arranged and ... read more
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Added on: April 8, 2013