As the old phrase goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether or not this is true is always in question, but for now we're going to assume that it does. By the stroke of a brush a painter can give life to a work of genius, representative of his conscious state of emotion (or unconcious, at that). One familiar artist comes to mind when I think of the word "paint" , and that is Vincent Van Gogh. His signature color swirls and blurred brush strokes have become synonymous with such paintings as Starry Night
, giving his works a sense of mystery and lack of clarity that leave interpretation and evaluation open to whoever may sees them. And thus is the unresolving genius of My Bloody Valentine, but perhaps with both ears intact. Not only are they pioneers of a rather questionably named genre, shoegaze, but are also one of the greatest acts to ever come across a blank pallete. Instead of a thousand words, though, we are left with 28, 998 seconds (48:33) of Kevin Shield's blood, sweat, and... pink fuzz.
No other cover that I can think of expresses the music contained within so well as Loveless
'. A guitar surrounded is a shroud of pink and red fuzz, blurred and splotched throughout. To a certain extent, that is exactly what the music that My Bloody Valentine made was, and on Loveless
they honed their skills to an unbelievable level. The album cost over $500,000, a result of the constant tinkering and dedication to perfection that Kevin Shields - and the album - are known for. Hours spent in the studio experimenting with microtones and melodies resulting from feedback, ghost notes, overdubbing, sampling, and backwards taping all result in a near-cacophony of beautiful noise (check the Colm O'Ciosoig. composed "Touched"). Loveless
also lets off a sense of sensuality, or perhaps sexuality
. This, of course, is subtle enough that it doesn't put itself out in front of the music, but rather the feeling looms throughout the confidently noisy atmosphere of the album. These attributes are furthered even more by the duel singing of Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher. Their voices were recorded as two tracks, one with regular singing, and one where whoever may be singing mumbles the vocals quietly, letting the microphone pick up on the hard consenants. Then, the tracks are fused together, and the volume turned up on the "mumble track", giving the singing a surreal aura. Belinda Butcher sings with a breezy, almost innocent tone, usually an octave above that of Kevin Shields. Their vocals tend to be mixed down, blending with the music and adding to the music in toto. Sometimes, their voices morph into what sounds like a droning synthesizer, yet you can never really pick out specific words, but more so syllables (such as Sigur Ros' ( )
, despite it's erotic soundscapes and layers of noise, comes off as an extremely beautiful record. Hidden underneath the dense arrangements are amazing, ear-catching melodies. Sometimes, they're the focus of the songs. This is most certainly the case of one of the most accessable songs on the album, "When You Sleep". It perfectly sums up My Bloody Valentine's approach and understanding of music, with fuzzed out guitars coupled with both singers harmonizing throughout the song (and the album, at that). Like very few songs on this album, it drives along a considerable pace (such is the case with the anthemic, sprawling "What You Want", a song with a slightly more diverse sound/production from the rest of the album). Compared to the others, at least. "Loomer" also achieves a point of euphoria that is fairly common on the record, but once again is established with easily digested melodies, but over a much more unacessable backing that flows throughout most of the album. "I Only Said", "Come in Alone", and especially "Sometimes" serve as a continuation of the album, with the latter song driven by muted acoustic strums and walls of noise. However, it is muted and toned down, glowing with such an iridiscent beauty, like that of a child's genuine love for their parents and for their surroundings. It furthermore installs a sense of pure emotion that quite a few albums in the genre lack.
It is also fairly apparent throughout Loveless
that Kevin Shields' and Bilinda Butcher write with such a blissfully naive understanding of life and love, and such an extreme simplicty, that it only makes the songs even more attractive. While the production completely masks the lyrical approach of the songs, they aren't anything to shy away from. Like the rest of the album, they tend to be strangely sensual, but yet they thrive in a psychadelic setting. The lyrics, such as the music, portray a sense of longing and hope, and most certainly restrospection, such as on the grandiouse "To Here Knows When" (Turn/ Your head/ Come back again/To here knows when). On the earlier-metioned "When You Sleep", Kevin and Belinda sing of the happiness that is brought by having a companion ("When you sleep tomorrow/And it won’t be long/Once in a while/When you make me smile"). "Blown a Wish", a piece of dream-pop ecstacy, resonates as a sex-and-death narrative ("Fall apart my bleeding heart/Nothing left to do/Once in love/I’ll be the death of you"). This is a slightly darker lyrical scheme compared to the rest, but ironically enough, is one of the happiest sounding songs on the album. Even if the lyrics on the album represent a childish outlook on the world and life as we know it, they serve more as an accompaniment to the music, although they are completely open to the interpretation that you would expect for such a perplexing album such as this one.
ends on what might just be the most peculiar track on the album, "Soon". The drum, or drum machine, are (is) at the forefront of the song, providing a solid backbeat along with the bass. A chiming melody comes in, and over time, My Bloody Valentine's layers of noise steadily build on as the song goes, sometimes dropping out to let that one melody stand out. It's no surprise that the song was a single, and it serves as a perfect fusion of dance music and experimental Sonic Youth-isms. It ends the album on, what you could say, a rather ironic note. Loveless
, and My Bloody Valentine themselves, thrive in so many different ways that it's actually rather hard to believe. This album brims with experimentation, but also the realization that to achieve greater heights, one needs to becomes fully acquainted with every aspect of music. Loveless
perfectly, and geniously, combines these. Noise, dissonance, melody, harmony, ambience, droning, and what every band strives for: uniqueness. It is a summation of what embodies every human being; love, life, sex, death, joy, depression, etc. Their offspring attempted and ultimately failed to imitate the sheer baroque power and beauty that My Bloody Valentine created. And this just proves as to how unique they, and this album, really were; while other bands attempted to recreate the lush soundscapes, they forgot the importance of all the musical aspects that were slaved over on this album...
And that, my friends, is all that I have to say about that