Oh! Sweet Nuthin’!
“Oh! Sweet Nuthin‘” is the final song off of Loaded, the last real Velvet Underground album (1970). It tells the stories of the disaffected, the poor Jimmy Brown, the homeless and depressed Ginger Brown, his fellow street person Polly May, and poor Joanna Love who finds herself in an endless stream of failed relationships. Between that and the chorus of, “Oh, sweet nuthin’/She ain’t got nothing’ at all,” you’d think this was a miserable song, one to listen to when you’re looking for that last bit of motivation to slash your wrists. That would be the easy approach. Rather, “Oh! Sweet Nuthin‘” is incredibly life affirming, especially in the end section where drummer Doug Yule – filling in for Moe Tucker who was on maternity leave – suddenly kicks the whole jam into overdrive. The guitars soar and the drumming continues to pound and it builds until it finally resolves to a reprise of, “She ain’t got nothing at all,” which suddenly feels like a reward instead of a lament. Who says that you can’t make something out of nothing? –Mark Toscano, David Steinberg
I’m Sticking With You!
One of the first generally available Velvet Underground bootlegs was an EP released around 1976 that served up four songs cut during the bridges between the band’s second and third (“Temptation in Your Heart”) and third and fourth albums — “Foggy Notion,” “Ferryboat Bill,” and “I’m Sticking With You.” All offered very different views on the band, at a time when the plethora of studio outtakes and oddities that we know today had still to see the light of day. However, even in this company, the plaintively swinging “I’m Sticking With You” (“cos I’m made out of glue”) came as a major shock to anybody raised on the delights of “Sister Ray” and “Heroin.” A straightforward duet between Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker, “I’m Sticking With You” was as sweet and unaffected as any classic pop duo (Captain & Tennille would have killed for this song!), its lilting melody and gauchely realistic sentiments all the more touching for their simplicity. Tucker would subsequently re-record the song with Jonathan Richman; the Velvets’ own version, meanwhile, finally made its official debut on 1985’s VU compilation. –Dave Thompson