Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)

I know this record has been written about more times than anyone could ever try to count, but it's possibly my favorite album of all time, and regarded as one of the best albums of all time by many, so I figured I'd share my thoughts.

I never liked Loveless when I first picked it up some 7 years ago. "Cacophony," I thought, "overrated, pretentious shit". But now with a keener ear than I had then at the time, and having listened to this album from start to finish hundreds of times, I can honestly say that each listen I enjoy it more than the time before. It manages to evoke these weird, alien emotions I can't quite seem to pinpoint, but seem so nostalgically familiar. 20 years after its release, no other group or artist has even come close to creating the type of sounds this album produces. Layer upon layers of reverberating guitars and floating melodies, that upon first listen may sound scattered and shrill, but eventually all come together to form perfect compositions. It's like a pop record from 2090 that got sucked into a interdimensional wormhole and ended up in 1991 all pink and brown and distorted from the time travel process.

After a couple dozen listens you begin to feel like you've known these songs all your life. Even if you've only had the album for a year, Loveless just oozes with this distant fellowship. I could have sworn that I've heard the melody hiding behind "When You Sleep" Christmas of 1992, sitting around a fire with my mom and dad, somehow, but of course there's no way to really know. It's probably just nostalgic musings, but it feels so concrete.

If anything, Loveless flows smoothly, like a good high, taking you up and down but never jolting from the basic underlying mood - and what that mood is summarized in the title of the album. It's lack of sappiness and nebulous nature also adds to the effect of something from another planet. You can't just listen to a single song, no; this album begs to be heard in its entirely with each listen. You have to dedicate 46 minutes of your time to assimilate these beautiful dissonant cosmic sounds into the aural region of your brain waves.

So, is this the best album ever created? Maybe. A lot of time was spent in production (2 years) for Kevin Shields to perfect his ultimate work and MBV nearly caused the demise of Creation. Shields in undoubtedly a musical genius on par with classical composers such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Haydn, and so on. He fostered a certain dedication to his work that only true artists are capable of and its a shame he never followed this album up with something even more transcendental. Still, Loveless stands as a near perfect example of what Bill Drummond of the KLF describes in his groundbreaking book 17 as an evolution of music, rather than a conflating of prior influences. Yes, this is a masterpiece, and no I'm not going to post a link because you should already have this in your collection. If you don't you probably wouldn't be reading my blog anyways. This is a must own record that ages like a fine wine, better throughout the years. Give it a listen right now and you'll find you might just like it more than the last time you heard it.

Rating: Flawless, spellbinding, musically epitomizing.

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