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Old 07-06-2010, 05:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Loveless



Loveless by My Bloody Valentine


It's an appropriate cover, the image all overlapped and confused, saturated by reds and looking all messy and bunched up, as if there's a lack of space to be had. Certainly, My Bloody Valentine fill up their entire sonic landscape and then need to overlap in some places, because goddammit there isn't enough room. There's a certain aesthetic to the image that cannot be denied, a certain mood that's evoked in those who've listened to Loveless, yet maybe it's more appropriate to say those who've explored and fallen into Loveless. The overlapping is fitting, and may be a subtle hint to those who know it, because this is an album rife with the touch of overdubbing and reverb. The whole thing echoes and bounces around inside your head, looking for somewhere to go, looking for a category fit snugly into. When I first heard it, I didn't know where to put it, so I put it in my "What?" folder inside my mind. A beautiful what.

Love it or hate it(and to be honest, most people I've met either love it or at least respect it), nobody had ever quite heard an album like this. Shoegazing at it's worst was a pretentious scene. Hell, it was called shoegazing because the performers looked down at their shoes while they played. This complete lack of showmanship isn't a new thing in today's underground scenes, but one should at least look at their audience, at least in my opinion, and I'll muster up the arrogance to say I'm correct on that account. This album had a real risk of becoming an unintentional self-parody, and the band feared a critical panning of the first degree. Instead they got rave reviews and rightly so. A perfect word for Loveless is transcendent. It escapes the shackles of genre and firmly places itself into the essential.

There are a few songs that stand out and are of note. 'Loomer', the second song, is one of only two songs on the album that I feel are carried by the vocals. Yet they're still mostly indistinguishable, especially in 'Loomer'. The vocals in this song are a sweetly sad melody that are backed up by a howling guitar that reeks of desperation. It's the perfect counterpoint to the brash assault laid at one's feet in the opener. The next song of note is 'I Only Said', a dense soundscape invaded by a sliver of high-pitched beauty snaking up and down through the song like a leech swimming in water. It stays with you, makes you want to move and is unexpectedly catchy. It's a song you want on repeat. The last notable song is a tender piece on a deceptively tender album(many may consider it a loud album, but in it's finest moments it's a subtle and moving waltz that stays with you), called 'Sometimes'. The guitar sounds tired, yet still menacing, still capable of assault, but it's pushed to the background, and the vocals guide the song with a steady hand. It's a song of regret it seems, sad and sweet like the best brand of nostalgia should be.

The density of this album is astounding. Voice and lyrics are indistinguishable from the greater whole. The vocals are used as just another instrument, one more ingredient blended into the crammed minutes of every song. A provider of a base melody, a foundation leaving room for bloom. To be honest, don't bother looking up the lyrics, I haven't, and whenever I review an album I always look up the lyrics. There are only two songs with distinguishable lyrics, but the most intriguing ones I heard were in the second song, 'Loomer', because there was one phrase that got to me, especially in my current state of mind, 'lonely places.' Lonely places. An appropriate album. Ever seen the Fellini film 'La Strada'? There's a scene with a woman inside a circus tent, all alone, playing a violin, cigarette in her mouth, and the smoke rises ever so slowly, curling upwards towards the sun, unwitnessed. Lonely places. I'd say the stage is one of those places, but that's just the poet in me talking.

10/10
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Loveless by My Bloody Valentine


It's an appropriate cover, the image all overlapped and confused, saturated by reds and looking all messy and bunched up, as if there's a lack of space to be had.

Love it or hate it(and to be honest, most people I've met either love it or at least respect it), nobody had ever quite heard an album like this. Shoegazing at it's worst was a pretentious scene.

This album had a real risk of becoming an unintentional self-parody, and the band feared a critical panning of the first degree. Instead they got rave reviews and rightly so.
Slowdive had a vague blurry cover a few months earlier with their first album.

Nobody ever heard an album like it? Well that's their choice, doesn't mean there hasn't probably been some experimental music at least slightly similar before. And originality alone isn't really a reason to praise something for me.

They got rave reviews but for some people wrongly so. The critics don't always get things right, and that's an understatement. In fact it often results in people just following the hype and such albums getting far more acclaim than other albums that are at least as good, and the bandwagon just keeps on rolling as the years roll by.

Look at Amazon and you'll see there are people with different opinions. And how can you respect something if you don't love it? Because people tell you you should? According to someone on Amazon:

"Most people I ask seem to think they should like it, after all, but promptly shudder and admit that it doesn't turn them on like it should. These are not top-40 listeners by any measure of the imagination: I'm referring to people who actually own Experimental Audio Research albums, who think the last Neutral Milk Hotel was too commercial."
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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And how can you respect something if you don't love it?
Easy. You can recognize talent and/or influence while not being particularly impacted on a gut level by the music. I'm this way about Prince, for example. I definitely respect that he's a talented guy but very little of his music really grabs me.
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Easy. You can recognize talent and/or influence while not being particularly impacted on a gut level by the music. I'm this way about Prince, for example. I definitely respect that he's a talented guy but very little of his music really grabs me.
But sometimes I feel people just respect things because someone else tells them someone is talented. There are 1000s of talented people anyway, what matters is what is done with that talent. Influence is overrated I think (as well as hard to measure), you can't give someone credit for music they never wrote or performed.

More thoughts from Amazon.

"People shouldn't be so quick to trip over themselves praising music and they definitely shouldn't do it so much in lock step with everybody else...there should always be dissenting voices on everything. Music critics want to impose their rigid, elitist worldview on everyone when we should be striving for more democracy..........So no, I don't want to be cool like you and listen to the music you listen to and and I don't want to be a scenester because scenes suck."

"Just please listen to me, I feel that this album is so highly-rated and influential ONLY because of the fact that, for many people, this is their introduction to this kind of genre of music. "

"Critics, like most of this album, suck............This is just another example of the media hype-machine and spineless critics who either want too much to be different/unique, or are too afraid to form an opinion of their own."

"All notion of talent is historical, but some people certainly rely much more on contextual receptivity than voluntaristic genius. MBV are the former."
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nobody ever heard an album like it? Well that's their choice, doesn't mean there hasn't probably been some experimental music at least slightly similar before. And originality alone isn't really a reason to praise something for me.
There was music SLIGHTLY similar, but this album really did encapsulate something entirely different. You can ascertain the band's main influences, but what MBV created was something very new.

Of course, you're correct that originality alone shouldn't warrant automatic praise. I rarely listen to Loveless, now - I've heard it hundreds of times and feel little need to ever sit through it again. I happen to think it's a wonderful album, and one of the most important albums in terms of shaping my music taste.

I find it interesting that a lot of people who dislike Loveless attempt to rationalize other people's love for the album, and interpret them as "trying to be cool" or "scene", or claim the album is only well respected because of the critics' hype. Perhaps the album is well respected because it's very unique, and lots of people genuinely love it? I found it to be a captivating abum which I obsessed over - these cynical, "I'm not a scenester because scenes suck" types on amazon and elsewhere on the internet should get over themselves.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well people can like whatever they want of course, and I'm happy with that if they really like it. But if I don't like something I don't see why I should still have to give it lots of respect. I think the automatic respect people give to things even if in some cases they don't really like something very much seems more because of peer pressure than anything. Some people who offer scathing comments still give Loveless 3 stars and seem to just hope they will get it eventually and assume there must be something more that they haven't found in it yet.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have respect for plenty of things I dislike - I respect the blues musicians I've heard, even though I don't care much for the genre. I can respect a good football player, even if he plays for a rival team. If there's talent, often that's accompanied by respect... I dislike the way many musicians use their instrumental talent, but usually I can still respect the talent itself.

If you've no respect for the album, then fair enough. People react differently to different things... some people, though, seem to be too keen to denigrate things based on popularity and status, instead of perhaps realizing that some people actually DO enjoy the music.

I actually think a lot of these "anti-scenesters" probably spend more time worrying about how albums they like/dislike are perceived, than the scenesters themselves.
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Easy. You can recognize talent and/or influence while not being particularly impacted on a gut level by the music. I'm this way about Prince, for example. I definitely respect that he's a talented guy but very little of his music really grabs me.

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Old 03-12-2011, 08:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have respect for plenty of things I dislike - I respect the blues musicians I've heard, even though I don't care much for the genre. I can respect a good football player, even if he plays for a rival team. If there's talent, often that's accompanied by respect... I dislike the way many musicians use their instrumental talent, but usually I can still respect the talent itself.

If you've no respect for the album, then fair enough. People react differently to different things... some people, though, seem to be too keen to denigrate things based on popularity and status, instead of perhaps realizing that some people actually DO enjoy the music.

I actually think a lot of these "anti-scenesters" probably spend more time worrying about how albums they like/dislike are perceived, than the scenesters themselves.
I'm talking more about elevating something to classic status even if you don't like it than just general respect for someone. Those who do genuinely like it I have no problem with as I said. And I never talked about denigrating a whole genre, that isn't part of what I am saying at all, or what most people at Amazon say. I would say those who are most concerned about whether they like albums that are considered good are more likely to stay with the famous things than ever dare mention anything which is far less well known.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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...if I don't like something I don't see why I should still have to give it lots of respect.
You don't have to, but there are some who do. I see nothing wrong with that.
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