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My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

This review is probably going to ruin whatever minimal credibility as a music afficiando that I may have built during my time posting to these pages. You see, I just cannot understand My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. I didn’t get it when it was happening the first time around, and I don’t get it now. At all.

I should explain. The whole ‘shoe-gazing’ thing apparently went sailing right past me, probably because nobody I knew at that time was using that term. I’ve just always assumed that that was a label applied well after the fact (not that I have really given it any thought). But anybody I knew all those years ago who had this record absolutely loved it.

So, I borrowed a copy off someone once, long ago, and after playing it all the way through and honestly listening to it, I had to admit that I didn’t understand the appeal. To put it bluntly, I thought it sucked. So if everyone else loved this thing, it was pretty obvious to me that I was missing something. But the only thing I could think of was that they just saying they loved it because that had somehow become the accepted thing to do. I mean, did anyone actually put this record on and enjoy it? To my ears then, as now, it was just highly repetitive, pointless distortion coupled with sighing, annoyingly obscured voices. Every song sounded exactly the same. Maybe it’s a precursor to some hellish form of grunge-lite? Whatever, it was completely boring.

Frankly, even the tracks that were most recognizable as songs sound, to me, like how it would sound if the Smiths had recorded underwater. And how is that interesting, exactly?

Of course, all-knowing critics laud it, placing it quite high up on their various lists of favourite albums from the 1990s. This apparently renders it untouchable and seminal for hoity-toity music geeks, one of those records that defined a big part of my own generation labelled ‘X’ by those same know-it-alls). OK, sure. If you say so. But it sure didn’t speak for or to me, and I first heard it at exactly the right age when it should have been changing my life (apparently). Guess not.

So, why am I ranting about it now, after a decade and a half of ignoring this record? Well, being the (apparently out-of-touch) music geek that I am, I was simply curious enough to give it another go. I somehow convinced myself that perhaps time would change how I felt about it, that after all this time I would finally understand what everyone else has known all along. So I found a copy online for $6, and had it sent to me by mail. When it arrived, I immediately plugged it in and gave the whole thing my undivided attention once again. And my reaction? You guessed it – exactly the same as it had been all those years ago. Blech.

Oh well.

So, to all of those people who love and swear by this record, those who consider it a definitive document that shaped things that matter, I say good for you. Seriously, turn it up and love it until you pass out from all the bliss that it brings you. Goodie for you.

Me, I’m gonna ignore it for another fifteen years, at which point my future self may be moved to blow the dust off of it and try it again. Somehow, though, I can’t help but think that I’ll have the same reaction. Again.

NB: Information regarding the times and whereabouts of funeral services being held for my music geek credibility will be available in the near future, in the unlikely event that anyone cares.

Track Listing:
01 only shallow
02 loomer
03 touched
04 to here knows when
05 when you sleep
06 I only said
07 come in alone
08 sometimes
09 blown a wish
10 what you want
11 soon

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