Fifty-four years after the release of The Velvet Underground’s classic debut album with Nico, the band’s original label Verve Records is gearing up to unleash a new covers compilation called I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico.
Berninger takes the classic true-to-life tale of an addict purchasing heroin for 26 dollars and transforms it into a larger-than-life ballad. While he taps into the same agitated, withdrawal-induced energy as the original record, Berninger’s arrangement is more spacious and ornate compared to the original’s sparse and gritty sound.
If the original song belongs to the streets of New York, Berninger’s version feels like it came out of a towering Baroque cathedral. And whereas Lou Reed’s original delivery was more deadpan and disaffected, Berninger’s signature baritone is saturated with an inescapable sense of melancholy.
The tribute album, executive produced by the late Hal Willner, was originally envisioned in 2017 and will feature Kurt Vile, Michael Stipe, Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen, St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett, King Princess, Courtney Barnett, and more.
Listen to Berninger’s cover below.
I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico Track List:
01. Michael Stipe – Sunday Morning
02. Matt Berninger – I’m Waiting For The Man
03. Sharon Van Etten (w/ Angel Olsen on backing vocals) – Femme Fatale
04. Andrew Bird & Lucius – Venus In Furs
05. Kurt Vile & The Violators – Run Run Run
06. St. Vincent & Thomas Bartlett – All Tomorrow’s Parties
07. Thurston Moore feat. Bobby Gillespie – Heroin
08. King Princess – There She Goes Again
09. Courtney Barnett – I’ll Be Your Mirror
10. Fontaines D.C. – The Black Angel’s Death Song
11. Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney – European Son