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Old 03-14-2011, 01:15 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I think it's more than perhaps, it happens all the time in all genres. And people look at these opinions as being objective when really it is a matter of opinion often. It's very hard to say who exactly did something first, how exactly do you define that something for instance. And influence is complex, more than one person is involved in an influence on someone's music. And I just care whether I like the music or not anyway. Where you place something in a history of music is an opinion, history is not objective it is selective in how it deals with things.
You're correct, it is hard to ascertain who did something first, and yes - influence is hard to properly measure. Nobody is disputing that. When I talk about influence, I prefer to think of it as simply, which bands did band X like the most? Who were they 'inspired' by. This, you can find out simply by knowing some basic things about the band, such as by reading their interviews, any books about them, or even speaking to the band themselves.

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Well it obviously isn't mainstream music. But some of those who don't like it have obviously listened to other shoegaze or even music which could be classified as using noise / ambient aspects. I've heard these styles of music.
The majority of people I've come across who are into shoegaze would still place Loveless in their top shoegaze albums. Loveless may be the most popular, but I'd say it's a lot less accessible an album than something by say, Slowdive or Ride - the fact it has achieved the status it has is a testament to how good it is. Ride are much more straight-up rock than MBV, and the same applies to Swervedriver, for example. I've heard almost all the shoegaze bands of the 90s that achieved any sort of lasting recognition, and while my favourite is Slowdive, I'd still regard MBV as second best. They are far from being merely an "introductory" band.

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Other people weren't an influence on shoegaze?? Ride, Slowdive, Galaxie 500, Cocteau Twins, no doubt others. Ambient music goes back quite a bit, noise music has been around for quite a while (before Throbbing Gristle even I expect). Some of these things may have even started outside of popular music in classical or experimental fields. Just because people are less aware of these doesn't mean they might not be good or important. Surely MBV had their own influences? Everybody has their own influences really, nobody starts something from nothing.
Of course, shoegaze had a variety of influences. MBV themselves, had their influences - in 1990 though, there was nothing like Loveless. If you can find anything like it, let me know... I daresay MBV did like Galaxie 500 and they certainly liked the Cocteau Twins, but Loveless expands on that sound in a big way. Much more textured, layered and with less prominent vocals. It was the album that most other shoegaze bands tried to emulate (by their own admission, often).

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That is a VERY subjective comment and way of putting it. Better to say they have gathered alot of respect over the years. But that doesn't mean there can't be room for other opinions.
"MBV were the kings of the scene" - that's a direct quote from a Creation Records documentary I've seen. I can't remember which band said it (it was either Slowdive or the Telescopes), but when shoegaze was in full flow in the early 90s, MBV were almost universally regarded as the best on record, and the best live (although Ride were also amazing live, apparently). Of course there's room for other opinions - not everyone can like the same things - but when their shoegaze peers are all lining up on video to pay tribute, then it's obvious how important MBV were to that scene.

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Maybe they have been or maybe it is just cool to mention MBV. Everybody knows fashion is at the heart of popular music, it guides people's opinions and styles, that's why the style of popular music has changed so much other the last 50 years. Frankly I'd like to make my own judgement that let someone else do it for me. And aren't people often part of a scene anyway, people who influence each other and grow together with a style?
Forgive me for saying this, but why are you so overly cynical about this? When noise artists like Nadja and Wolf Eyes, psychedelic rock bands like Bardo Pond, indie bands like Sebadoh and GBV, among so many more - when these artists say they were inspired by MBV, do you really think they're all saying that because it's "cool" to mention the band? Was Brian Eno just being "cool" when he said Loveless was one of the most creative rock albums ever made? I myself, loved the album so much I wanted to start a band and play similar music - I just lacked the means to do so. I didn't want to do it because I thought MBV were "cool" - to the contrary, they were the kind of band I didn't want my friends to know I liked, because of the weird and unconventional way they sounded (I was a teenager, mind).


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What matters more though to me is what someone does with that influence. JC Bach greatly influenced Mozart, does that mean he is greater than Mozart? NO.
This is what I am saying, too. That's why I mentioned the Sex Pistols and New York Dolls - they influenced a host of punk/post-punk bands, but while I dislike those two bands, some of the bands influenced by them are amongst my favourites. That's what's fascinating - how a unique and talented band can use the music they've previously enjoyed, and create something which may have similarities, but is something almost totally new and unique all the same. I can think of few better examples of bands who have done that in the past 25 years, than MBV with Loveless.

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:00 PM   #22 (permalink)
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"MBV were the kings of the scene" - that's a direct quote from a Creation Records documentary I've seen. I can't remember which band said it (it was either Slowdive or the Telescopes), but when shoegaze was in full flow in the early 90s, MBV were almost universally regarded as the best on record, and the best live (although Ride were also amazing live, apparently). Of course there's room for other opinions - not everyone can like the same things - but when their shoegaze peers are all lining up on video to pay tribute, then it's obvious how important MBV were to that scene.
It just sounds like a bit of a hyped remark. I don't mind if some did think highly of them, they were obviously quite famous. But maybe someone else was underrated at the time like Slowdive? So contemporary opinions can be subjective and not see the full picture sometimes.

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Forgive me for saying this, but why are you so overly cynical about this?
It's hard not to be a bit cynical about popular music, maybe even some other modern arts. Marketing is a big part of it, so is image. If you are on a small label and don't get pushed in magazines and other areas you probably won't be well known even if your music is really good. That means you won't be influential either I suppose, but it doesn't mean you might not have done really good music.

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I myself, loved the album so much I wanted to start a band and play similar music - I just lacked the means to do so. I didn't want to do it because I thought MBV were "cool" - to the contrary, they were the kind of band I didn't want my friends to know I liked, because of the weird and unconventional way they sounded (I was a teenager, mind).
I'm not directly talking about you in this as there is no way I can know your own personal feelings about the music, I'm talking in more general terms about how music can be received.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:00 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I think I agree with the majority of what you've said there. The band that becomes most well known out of a scene is usually going to be the most influential, but of course that doesn't mean there aren't other fantastic (or better, even) bands around.

That said, I think that in early 90s England - pre-internet, where people had to buy records and go to gigs and bands couldn't promote their music on myspace or whatever other website - I think back then, marketing plays a lot less of a role. Especially in a fairly underground scene as shoegaze was at the time. The reason MBV came to the fore of that scene is because they produced a brilliant and unique album, and they were amazing live. Although these are subjective statements, I think something has to be said for a band who produce an album like Loveless that goes on to become the figurehead of an entire genre (and a fairly cerebral genre, as well)... it's not merely through hype, or luck of the draw that some other band didn't get there first. If the album was merely just hype-at-the-time, then it would be forgotten about like so many other underground albums that were initially praised/popular have been forgotten about.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:48 PM   #24 (permalink)
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i love this record!
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Loveless is susceptable to hyperbolic statements alluding to some kind of pseudo-divinity, but, whilst I do agree that sometimes it's OTT, there is a reason why it is so critically lauded...

Because it fucking owns.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:03 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I think I agree with the majority of what you've said there. The band that becomes most well known out of a scene is usually going to be the most influential, but of course that doesn't mean there aren't other fantastic (or better, even) bands around.

That said, I think that in early 90s England - pre-internet, where people had to buy records and go to gigs and bands couldn't promote their music on myspace or whatever other website - I think back then, marketing plays a lot less of a role. Especially in a fairly underground scene as shoegaze was at the time. The reason MBV came to the fore of that scene is because they produced a brilliant and unique album, and they were amazing live. Although these are subjective statements, I think something has to be said for a band who produce an album like Loveless that goes on to become the figurehead of an entire genre (and a fairly cerebral genre, as well)... it's not merely through hype, or luck of the draw that some other band didn't get there first. If the album was merely just hype-at-the-time, then it would be forgotten about like so many other underground albums that were initially praised/popular have been forgotten about.
Again, 'figurehead' of a genre, like earlier you mentioned them being king, it just sounds hyped to me. The genre itself I guess got a push from some influential magazines at the time and they would use someone as the prime example of the genre as the genuises to exemplify it. Other bands did do good shoegage before the Loveless album, I would argue with fewer banal melodies often as well. As I said before I don't mind if some people really like them, but if we are talking about some objective place in history I think questions can definitely be asked. And it can take quite a long time for things to be questioned if something is really big at the time (with critics, not simply in a popular sense) as received opinions can be passed down with the weight of the years behind them, they are the things that people listen to first.

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Old 03-18-2011, 06:49 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Again, 'figurehead' of a genre, like earlier you mentioned them being king, it just sounds hyped to me. The genre itself I guess got a push from some influential magazines at the time and they would use someone as the prime example of the genre as the genuises to exemplify it. Other bands did do good shoegage before the Loveless album, I would argue with fewer banal melodies often as well. As I said before I don't mind if some people really like them, but if we are talking about some objective place in history I think questions can definitely be asked. And it can take quite a long time for things to be questioned if something is really big at the time (with critics, not simply in a popular sense) as received opinions can be passed down with the weight of the years behind them, they are the things that people listen to first.
Well, we can agree to disagree.

Critics can be wrong, of course. The fact that 20 years later it's still (in most quarters) heralded as the best album to come out of the shoegaze scene, speaks volumes for its quality.

Loveless was a definitive moment in the shoegaze genre. For most people, it blew anything released prior in the genre out of the water. Ask almost all the shoegaze bands themselves and they'll tell you that. What better "objective" evidence can you get, than testaments from Slowdive, the Telescopes, Chapterhouse, Ride, Swervedriver, Lush and many more. Surely the bands in the scene are the best placed to make statements about it? I've seen this in the Creation documentary. The fact this album is still revered by critics is nothing to do with 20 years of critic-after-critic hyping it up. It's revered because it's a brilliant and groundbreaking album - whether you or others like it or not. That's the prevailing opinion, and it's one which I fully endorse.

PS - If you don't believe it's groundbreaking/unique/original, please feel free to point me in the direction of something released before Loveless that has that immense, swirling, crushing guitar sound -- I would love to hear it!

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Old 03-19-2011, 01:46 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Well, we can agree to disagree.

Critics can be wrong, of course. The fact that 20 years later it's still (in most quarters) heralded as the best album to come out of the shoegaze scene, speaks volumes for its quality.

Loveless was a definitive moment in the shoegaze genre. For most people, it blew anything released prior in the genre out of the water. Ask almost all the shoegaze bands themselves and they'll tell you that. What better "objective" evidence can you get, than testaments from Slowdive, the Telescopes, Chapterhouse, Ride, Swervedriver, Lush and many more. Surely the bands in the scene are the best placed to make statements about it? I've seen this in the Creation documentary. The fact this album is still revered by critics is nothing to do with 20 years of critic-after-critic hyping it up. It's revered because it's a brilliant and groundbreaking album - whether you or others like it or not. That's the prevailing opinion, and it's one which I fully endorse.

PS - If you don't believe it's groundbreaking/unique/original, please feel free to point me in the direction of something released before Loveless that has that immense, swirling, crushing guitar sound -- I would love to hear it!
There are different kinds of shoegaze perhaps, not all of it has a crushing guitar noise through it or alternatively foregrounds that anywhere near to the extent MBV did. I'm sure some groups were influenced by them, just like some were influenced by The Cocteau Twins or others. And I still think on just pure achievement in recording they seem overrated. I thought you said Slowdive were better for you anyway, do you think Loveless is the best 'shoegaze' album?
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:28 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Loveless is the only good shoegaze album as far as I'm concerned. It's miles more drug damaged, sensual and daring then anything by the other drippy shoegaze dullards. It also still sounds mind blowing today unlike say Rides Nowhere.
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:06 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I love how this album can spark debates like this. The reason I think it has the reputation it does is because it epitomizes what shoegaze is about in every way. Other albums might have more hooks, crunchier guitars, dreamier melodies...whatever. Loveless takes all those elements and turns into a defining shoegaze statement. The point of shoegaze is to get lost in the sound and live in the world the music creates. The melodies are buried under walls of sounds and you have to go looking for them to appreciate what is going on. My first listen...my first few listens, in fact...I didn't like the album. I couldn't hear what was so great about it. Then one day, I paid attention to just the right aspects and I could hear everything for what it was. Those melodies and chord progressions are pure genius and the fact that Kevin Shields was willing to hide them all behind so much noise tells you he knew exactly what he wanted to achieve.

Most shoegaze albums are what they are. You listen, you enjoy, you move on. Loveless slowly reveals itself to you over time. It is like fine wine. That is why those other shoegaze bands tried to emulate them. My Bloody Valentine had figured out what every other shoegaze band was trying to accomplish. That is also why it will stand the test of time and remain a classic for years to come.
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