Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Song - Primal Scream's “Velocity Girl”

splendour in silver dress; velocity possessed ...

Here's a nascent Scream with the beautiful bijou lead track on the seminal C86 tape - a compilation of jangly guitar-based indie (featuring important bands like the Scream, Pastels, The Wedding Present, The Soup Dragons, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Servants etc.) released by NME Magazine; one that became so influential that its title became synonymous with an entire musical genre.

Velocity Girl", was originally the b-side to the 1986 single "Crystal Crescent". It later appeared on the wonderful 2004 collection of rarities and B-sides, "Shoot Speed – More Dirty Hits."
Being included on the now legendary C86 compilation - which led to their being associated with the scene of the same name - didn't exactly please Bobby Gillespie, who hated many/most of the bands in that milieu; a scene as described by Gillespie in an Uncut magazine interview as containing bands who "can't play their instruments and ... can't write songs"!

Influenced by ill-fated socialite / actress Edie Sedgwick - who got truly mangled by the machine and Warhol's fucked-up Factory freakshow - it's a gorgeous and restrained (especially by later Scream standards) dark meditation on drug addiction.

With a delicious jangly melody, its' a  short-sharp-shock song about "velocity" - which, as well as obviously referring to speed, also - more broadly - seems to refer to that all so temporary state of being high; feeling elated and forgetting the pain for those very few moments when "the world was her's again" ... but, of course, all too soon, "it fell apart again."
Opening with a nod to the Velvets' "Femme Fatale" (a sublime song, again about Sedgwick) with the seminal lines "here she comes again", the song reflects upon Edie's lifestyle (addicted to speed, and heavier stuff, and, at all other times, seemingly hanging on to a drink and a cigarette) ... a girl "with vodka in her veins ... playing with a spike."

Though such "splendour in silver dress", she was soon deserted by her so-called friends (including, allegedly, Bob Dylan, with whom she was romantically involved in the period just before his marriage to Sara) and doomed to early death ... "my so-called friends have left me and I don't care at all."

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