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Puttin’ on the Ritz: White Light/White Heat

The Velvet Underground’s sophomore album White Light/White Heat ranks as one of the most influential albums of all time. Released in 1968, it was born out of a collision of primitive garage rock, minimalism borrowed from avant-garde classical music and lyrics that reflected the grit of their New York streets. On top of that, it was produced with an approach that threw conventional fidelity to the wind.

One of moments that epitomizes the album’s frenzy comes in “I Heard Her Call My Name.” After Lou Reed sings the line, “Then my mind split open,” in the second chorus, his guitar emits an ear-splitting shriek of feedback that nearly swallows his three bandmates. It sonically reproduces the preceding lyric with one of the single-most brutal guitar sounds ever recorded by a rock band.

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