My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

My Bloody Valentine
(Sony Records)

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My Bloody Valentine only managed to release two LPs in their career as a band, but 1991’s Loveless is widely regarded as one of rock’s greatest albums. The record took years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete, but it withstands the test of time to remain deliciously obscured and unapologetically shoegaze.

Music geeks will be delighted to know that the reissue of Loveless features the album (re)mastered not once but twice by the band’s frontman and serial perfectionist, Kevin Shields. Shields’ influence over the recording process was legendary, especially since he handled nearly all of the writing and playing that appears on the LP. So what does he give us with this reissue? One album is remastered from the 1991 DAT master, while the other is mastered from the original 1/2 inch monologue tapes. It sounds fancy, but the differences are minimal at best to the common listener such as myself. Maybe truly technical people will be able to pick up on the nuances, but even though I’m a fan of My Bloody Valentine, the necessity of a double album of the same material is lost on me.

Having said that, I think Loveless remains a landmark album. It’s a twisting, churning record that is responsible for so many imitations. It’s difficult to pick out the lyrics with the vocals pulled back so far beneath the guitars, and that’s on purpose. There’s something ridiculously compelling about the dizzying music, the quiet chaos that makes you crank up the volume. By the time you get to the sprawling, clear “Soon” at the end of the album, you’ll either love what the band’s done or grumble something about hipsters. For my money, it’s still one of the boldest displays of a band (or, well, at least one member of a band) exercising full creative control.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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