When the Velvet Underground’s Peel Slowly And See box set, which compiled its entire discography, was released in 1995, the band’s fifth album, Squeeze, was nowhere near it. History has dismissed it as an illegitimate part of the VU story. The reason why? It was recorded by exactly none of the Velvets’ original members; instead the work of Doug Yule, who only joined the band for its third and fourth albums.
Yule was a sympathetic partner for the Velvet Underground’s primary songwriter Lou Reed (Reed even referred to him as “my brother Doug” in concert), but he was far from worthy of taking the reins of the band when it fell apart. Industry machinations being what they were, this is what happened, and the result was an album initially ignored and eventually hated for saying it was something it wasn’t.
But Squeeze might have found an audience, and surely been better remembered, via one slight change. Instead of billing it as by “the Velvet Underground,” call it what it is—Doug Yule’s solo album. Listened to on those terms, it’s a competent, at times charming ‘70s rock record. Further, it demonstrates how much Yule contributed to the tastefully bright sound of the Velvet Underground’s fourth album, Loaded, particular on “Caroline,” which channels Reed so successfully it sounds like he might be lurking on backing vocals.