It’s Been 20 Years? The Best of 1991 Revisited: My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless

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This album, “Loveless” is a monster.

A devastatingly deafening banshee behemoth. A pulse-quickening Medusa that stops you dead in your tracks. A befuddling sphinx that defies you to define the very concept of what is music. And lastly a label consuming creature of leviathan proportions.

I can’t effectively tell the story of the album. Neither could nor would I attempt to describe it’s mysteries in any kind of a reasonable way that does it justice. Additionally, I won’t regail you with personal anecdotes of my experience with the album, as those are far too numerous to choose from. But I will give you a number of reasons why if you haven’t  (and even if you have) you should listen/re-listen to My Bloody Valentine‘s terrifyingly gorgeous “Loveless.”

1. Although it is ostensibly the progenitor of the “shoegaze” sound that has been copied by dozens of bands, I can think of no other band has created the “wall of sound” that My Bloody Valentine created on this album to such dizzyingly perfect effect.

2. When I call this album a monster, I mean it. At the risk of mixing metaphors, it is a Category 5, 10+ Richter scale, Frankenstein-level albatross of EPIC proportions for almost everyone involved. So much so, that it is kind of cursed and has been mostly abandoned by its creators, left to be reissued in bootleg form and wander the scorched Earth in the iPods of puzzled fans forever. It took several years to record in dozens of different studios, countless sound engineers lost their jobs in process, and it essentially bankrupt Creation Records. Consequently, even as it is a sonically magnificent success it will always be hated to some degree by those gave birth to it.

3. Now that The Beach Boys‘ “SMiLE Sessions have actually been released, the follow-up to “Loveless” has for all intents and purposes become the NEW Holy Grail for rockist nerd types. Despite excitable rumors for over a decade, particularly after MBVs world tour and Coachella appearance, there is no evidence that MBV mastermind is at work ON ANYTHING. So, although he’s done some work on tracks for other folks and for some Sofia Coppola movies…for all intents and purposes this is the last will and testament of the truly unique musical genius, Kevin Shields.

4. Lastly, the thing itself is a marvel. For all the monster metaphors, fact is, it is more like a wildfire. The album itself is not a monster, but more like an elemental thing gone out of control. All the devastation in its wake is a sad and purely circumstantial thing. It is actually quite beautiful and completely mesmerizing. You can listen to it in a variety of situations (y’know, doing things,) but it is most effective if and when you just sit with it. At just under an hour, despite it’s damnable history and the fact that it’s name is probably more than a cheeky pun, it is a truly lovely way to spend some time.

Mario Cotto