How Far Can We Get From the Velvet Underground?

Since Rocks Off bought a smartphone this past January, we have downloaded almost 400 songs from iTunes. We know, we need help. But we have become fascinated with the damn thing.

One of the features we like the best is "Listeners Also Bought" at the bottom of each album's page, which we assume ranks the Top 5 other recordings people who bought that album also purchased. It's a good way to gauge how popular and influential an album has been, and where it ranks within the artist's catalogue.

Under someone's most popular records, for example, the LAB list is usually similar artists whose work was popular at the time, while albums a little further down the artist's totem pole tend to get bought within the same catalogue. Also, every last man, woman and child with a smartphone apparently owns a copy of Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy.

Continue Reading

We spend way too much time on this shit, but hey, at least it keeps us off drugs. To illustrate our point, Rocks Off chose an album more or less at random and see how far we could take it. Personally, we never even liked the Velvet Underground's & Nico all that much, but it seemed like a good album to start: It's fairly iconic, and it straddles a lot of different genres - classic rock, alternative/punk, art-rock/noise and everything that got twisted up in between.

Also, Nico is our cat's name (but Neko, like Case). Let's see what happened.

Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground & Nico

Listeners Also Bought:

Pixies, Surfer Rosa Pixies, Doolittle Television, Marquee Moon Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Airplane Over the Sea Tom Waits, Rain Dogs

Rocks Off Chose: Tough call, especially over Doolittle, but we went with Rain Dogs because Keith Richards guests on "Big Black Mariah" and we have always loved "Gun Street Girl." In fact, we downloaded it while we were writing this blog. Told you we had a problem.

Listeners Also Bought:

The Stooges, The Stooges (Deluxe Edition)

Rocks Off Chose: That's it. The only other choices were The Velvet Underground and Nico and Marquee Moon. So we'll go with Iggy & friends.

Listeners Also Bought:

New York Dolls, New York Dolls The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat Television, Marquee Moon Gang of Four, Entertainment! Black Flag, Damaged

Rocks Off Chose: Marquee Moon. Someone is obviously trying to tell us something.

Listeners Also Bought:

Gang of Four, Entertainment! New York Dolls, New York Dolls The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat The Stooges, The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) The Stooges, Fun House (Deluxe Edition)

Rocks Off Chose: See? The same damn albums. These people must have a very narrow range of musical interests. Let's try Entertainment!

Listeners Also Bought:

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy Television, Marquee Moon Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime The Stooges, The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) Dinosaur Jr., You're Living All Over Me

Rocks Off Chose: Psychocandy. Not our favorite Mary Chain album (that's Automatic), but we still prefer it to the Minutemen or Dino Jr. No offense.

Listeners Also Bought:

Gang of Four, Entertainment! Dinosaur Jr., You're Living All Over Me The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat Sonic Youth, Goo Television, Marquee Moon

Rocks Off Chose: We'd pick Goo, but chose to stop. Rocks Off could keep doing this all day, but we have work to do. So the answer to the question in the headline is "not very." This game must be rigged. But it is fun.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories