Much of Chelsea Girl relies on Nico’s ability to frame sound underneath the electric guitars of Jackson Browne or the orchestral chords that create more for Dionysian emotions where beauty rules. The opening track, “The Fairest Of The Seasons” is a ripe introduction to some of the polarizing style of Nico. On one hand, she is a folk icon that was surrounded by the likes of The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol but can also step away from the cult legends and make a way for herself. Where an artist like Lou Reed is a guttural vocalist that tells a different side of the gritty New York that surrounded the timeframe, Nico is a pearl made from the silt of sound.
Describing through these heart-wrenching lyrics, Nico illustrates “Now that it’s time, now that the hour hand has landed at the end. Now that it’s real, now that the dreams have given all they had to lend. I want to know do I stay or do I go, and maybe try another time.” She collects this verse as a personal apparition to herself, looming over her own shoulder to paint the final moments of regret. She ends the verse describing, “And do I really have a hand in my forgetting?,” as swells of violins and string ensembles encapsulate the audience and demand them to hear Nico as the center stage MC.
While Chelsea Girl is not a record that fits every emotional state, the chamber folk record is a perfect still photograph of black and white art deco capturing where class is this epicenter of Nico’s sound. While strange at times and her voice can take multiple chances to click, after warming into the nestle of the banana tree, Nico is both a visually striking individual and also a seamstress who can weave conceptual finesse into nourishment for the mind.