Loveless

mbv

For the quarter of a century prior to CDs suddenly becoming an obsolete music format, I spent an obscene amount of time and money amassing the most out of control collection of discs this side of the Mississippi. I’m glad I never looked upon this ever-growing plastic mess as an investment because they are now worth precisely nothing. You might think, therefore, that it would be difficult for me to pinpoint a single album as my absolute favorite among 3,000 titles from every genre you can think of, but you’d be wrong. My absolute favorite album of all-time is 1991’s shoegaze tour de force “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine.

This brilliant, lush, sprawling, hypnotic masterpiece flew under the radar of the listening public, but it sure caught the attention of critics, most of whom concur wholeheartedly with my assessment of its sheer beauty and genius. It took front man Kevin Shields over 20 years to release its follow-up and I would guess that this was because after he listened back to Loveless upon its completion, he realized that he would never be able to top it. From start to finish, this guitar-heavy, dreamy suite of songs transports the listener into a world of joyous emotional psychedelia with interweaving riffs drowning out the ethereal vocals until they’re nothing more than another instrument in the 64 track onslaughts of effects-laden guitar gorgeousness.

Here’s “Soon”, the album’s softly upbeat coda, followed by “Only Shallow”, its deceptively jarring opening track. But don’t base your opinion on these alone. The songs on Loveless bleed into one another, creating what is essentially one long piece meant to be heard from beginning to end. Also, it should initially be taken in with headphones if one wishes to hear the myriad meticulous sonic subtleties that reveal themselves more fully with each repeated listen. Enough out of me. Dig some MBV:

4 thoughts on “Loveless

  1. Riveting stuff! I must admit, I don’t recall this band, but that doesn’t mean anything… I didn’t remember what I ordered from Amazon last week for the Rams victory until it arrived yesterday (it was a Rams-motif’d BBQ spatula). So I might very well have known of My Bloody Valentine 25, 20, 15, 10, or 5 years ago.

    Either way, I intend to give them a further exploration, in some of the online-ready formats. Thanks for sharing your favorite, of all-time! I mean… could I really pick out mine? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad those 2 videos piqued your interest because taking any of the songs out of context (and, of course, edited down from the original album tracks by several minutes) almost destroys the original intent. There are also 2 EPs that came out alongside this album, as well as the follow up album 22 years later called “MBV” that are just as challenging and awesome. Its predecessor “Isn’t Anything” is the first time you can hear them approaching this sound. But anything they did earlier than Isn’t Anything is questionable — just sort of run-of-the-mill goth-alternative.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post.

    I was (and still am, to a certain degree) heavily into the shoegaze genre. But oddly enough, MBV never grabbed me as much as Lush, Slowdive, Ride, Curve, and a few others, as well as more obscure acts like Love Spirals Downwards and Tearwave. Although you did manage to pull two of my three favorite tracks off Loveless in your post, the other one being Come In Alone.

    I loved that genre of music for many of the reasons you describe, though it was polarizing back in the day. The textures, sound, and vocals really drew you into its hazy beauty. I was fortunate enough to catch Slowdive live in Detroit a few weeks ago.

    My ultimate favorite album rests a bit outside of the genre: The Cure’s Disintegration.

    Liked by 1 person

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