“I’m Waiting for the Man” is quintessential Velvet Underground and, by extension, quintessential ’70s rock and roll. The fun of seeing Beck take a crack at it, then, is that he’s one of the few rockstars (more or less) still floating around.
It’s a funny little ditty about the downtime waiting for your dealer in the hallway of a brownstone. When he does show he is of course “all dressed in black” with “a big straw hat.” Other signposts you might be in the ’70s? You’ve only got $26 in your hand.
Beck’s take is expectedly cleaner, but keeps the punchy beat and jangling guitar. These days, drugs are more mainstream than ever, dealers summoned by text holding business cards and gadgets (not unlike the Underground themselves becoming something of an institution), it’s fun to reminisce about actually meeting in person with no cell phone to coordinate. It might be harder to find a dear old dimebag than ever, but Lou’s lesson still stands, “you’ve always got to wait.”