I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico is an all-star covers album five decades in the making – and it is worth the wait.

As Rolling Stone points out in their four-star review, this isn’t the first Velvet Underground tribute album. Nor is it the first featuring massive names – the early ’90s compilations Heaven & Hell and Fifteen Minutes featured the likes of Nirvana, Screaming Trees and Echo & the Bunnymen.

What sets this album apart from its predecessors, the mag says, “is the way it shows the influence of the Banana Album, specifically, across several generations.”

The record features reimagined versions of each track on the Velvet’s iconic 1967 debut, a collaboration with German singer-songwriter Christa Päffgen – known best by her stage name Nico – whose ethereal vocals are now considered an integral part of it’s sound.

The album was considered a flop upon initial release, because the band sat between two different cultures in the late 1960s: avant-garde and pop.

This according to British musicologist Richard Witts, whose third book The Velvet Underground studied the band extensively.

“The contradictions of that are what make The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) and White Light/White Heat (1968) so unique. It also explains why those albums didn’t sell very well at the time. They failed to hit either market,” he said.

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Today’s tribute, however, has garnered support from critics across the spectrum.

Courtney Barnett’s cover of the title track, ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ was released a month ago. It was the third of four singles released so far, with Iggy’s cover of ‘European Son’ hitting streaming services a fortnight ago.

Check out Courtney Barnett’s ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ lyric video:

YouTube VideoPlay

With the full album released today, fans can explore all of the tracks, including R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe’s opener ‘Sunday Morning’. Stipe recently appeared on WNYC Public Radio to discuss the album, and took the opportunity to confirm R.E.M. “will never reunite.”

Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground documentary will premiere on Apple TV+ on October 15th.

Listen to I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground:

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