Rolling Stone magazine loves to churn out link-bait lists that most fans of music will agree to disagree with. I was intrigued by their latest epic fail list of 50 genuinely horrible albums by brilliant artists. It is like sugar to sh*t. I was surprised to see the last official Velvet Underground 5th album Squeeze make it to the number two position. Kanye West’s 2018 album ‘Ye’ made the worst offering by a brilliant artist. That tag bestowed on Kanye might be debatable by many audiophiles.
Squeeze does not even have any original members from the Velvet Underground. Doug Yule who replaced John Cale on bass became the de facto member of the Velvet Underground. Squeeze would have faired worse as a Doug Yule solo album. It was not like the Velvet Underground was selling large amounts of albums. I have a soft spot for this album. Do I think it is a big dud, it’s just the opposite. The whole album was written and recorded almost entirely by Doug Yule. The album failed to chart. Yule was also not included in the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of the Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground was a band in name only when they released Squeeze in early 1973. The four original members of the hugely influential New York band had left one by one over the previous few years due to internal tension and the group’s failure to have even a tiny bit of commercial success. This was probably a good time to call it quits, but manager Steve Sesnick had the deranged idea they could somehow go forward with bassist Doug Yule — who replaced founding member John Cale in 1968 — taking over as leader. Yule was a real asset when they recorded 1969’s The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, but on those records, he still had Lou Reed around to write all the songs and sing the vast majority of them. With Reed out of the picture, Yule had to handle everything himself. In his own words, it was like “the blind leading the blind.” Squeeze might have been OK as a Doug Yule solo effort, but as an album by one of the greatest rock groups of all time? Definitely not. It did, however, inspire an upstart U.K. group led by Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford to call themselves Squeeze. In many ways, that’s its greatest legacy. –by Andy Greene (Rolling Stone Magazine)
Fun Fact: Brian Eno once famously claimed that although the band sold only 30,000 records in the first five years of its short tenure, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”.