Words Came Out To a Sound

October 14, 2010

My Bloody Valentine
Loveless
(1991)

I feel like the albums I pick from EW’s list of the 100 greatest albums of the past 25 years go in sequence nicely. My last review was of Elliot Smith’s Either/Or, an artist who went against the grain and recorded his material his own way despite the thinking that it went against what was popular at the time. My Bloody Valentine pretty much solidified shoe-gaze with Loveless; for those who don’t know about shoe-gaze, it’s loud, sweepy, and distorted. I saw the band at All Points West and they came on right before Tool. “You Made Me Realize’s,” ‘holocaust’ section nearly made grown Tool fans cry, it was so deafening. Never underestimate Irish people wielding guitars.
Like all legendary albums, Loveless has stories to go along with it: Kevin Shields was crazy, he bankrupted Creation Records, Bilinda didn’t even know what words she was singing half the time herself, etc. The band seems coy about confirming or denying anything in order to keep up the mystery.
The first thing I felt when listening to the album (via my older sister) was confusion. It’s fuzzy & earsplitting and it sounds like the vocals were recorded down the street from where the microphone was. Jump to like last year and now that I’m in my 30’s I have more of an appreciation for spacey jams and while one might not put MBV in the same thought as say, Grateful Dead, it’s certainly music meant for tuning out.
What to say about the songs individually? Some of slow, some distorted, most electric but some acoustic. All of them put style before substance but that was the point; they just sounded cool, it didn’t matter what the songs were about.

Loveless ended up being the last album My Bloody Valentine recorded; the pressure was all too much and Bilinda and Kevin broke up which didn’t improve matters.

Years later, Kevin was asked to compose music for Sophia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation; his music contributes to the atmospheric sequences and renewed many’s interests in the band.  They reunited for some shows and have flirted with the idea of recording new material. 

 


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