If you sat down to listen to Side A of the Soundsville! LP, you would hear, first, a slice of sad faux-country. Then an upbeat if somewhat pallid soul song; a mopey surfer’s lament; and a blissed-out piece of high-harmony doo-wop.
If you’d been sinking slowly into a stupor over your intoxicant of choice — not that you’d have had much time to do so, as we’re barely 10 minutes in at this point — “You’re Driving Me Insane” would certainly wake you up. Attentive readers will remember “Wild One,” with its unconvincing party atmosphere; “YDMI” is a faster and better version of the same song, noisy enough to have been successfully passed off as a Velvet Underground demo on bootlegs. It’s not the Velvets, but it is the first Pickwick song that you could reasonably include in a Lou Reed anthology.
And finally we get to hear Lou’s voice. What a breath of raw air it is after the cloying trills of “Wonderful World of Love,” though his New York sneer may have been a little confusing to listeners since the “Roughnecks” — to whom the song is credited — were supposed to be British. I’m not sure who exactly they’re meant to sound like; maybe the Who or Kinks, both of whom were still quite new at the time? The haircuts (see above) suggest an affinity that the music doesn’t quite follow through on.
In any case, “You’re Driving Me Insane” is a welcome blast of wattage on a mostly soporific album side. Afterward you might have even had the energy to get up and flip the record over.