Thursday, March 27, 2008

Greatest Openers: White Light/White Heat

Many great openers use a technique that brings beauty through rawness. The Velvet Underground’s title track off their 1968 album White Light/White Heat not only uses the droning distortion of guitars and backing vocals to provide a similar energy of a high, but the lyrical subject parallels the approach. Concerning opiates once again, Lou Reed crafts a song about the beauty of shooting heroin. Heroin, being a very hard drug, no doubt has the raw power to create and destroy, but the quality of the drug being white evokes a certain splendor for the user (and the listener). But as the song ends, and the high wears off, the guitars lose focus and gain drive, only to diminish into static crackles. After the short-lived peak of energy, a silence leaves the listener/user needing more.

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