It’s always mesmerising to look back in retrospective to artists who have contributed largely to a certain sub-genre, in this case we’re talking about My Bloody Valentine. As a band, MBV were very big in the Shoegaze scene back in the 90s, and this album which was released in 1991 was considered a really great album by many critics, despite that it didn’t do that well commercially. Loveless is an influential album because of its pioneering sounds, which other bands of that time such as Ride and Slowdive also contributed to largely.
To rewind a bit for those who don’t know exactly what Shoegaze is, it’s a sub-genre of alternative music. Basically the term derives from the actual stage presence of the artists who were always looking down at their pedals when performing, due to the large usage of the pedal. Therefore this made the artist gaze at their shoes, hence the term Shoegaze. Shoegaze music is usually described as being ‘dream pop’, distorted or just with a lot of feedback, it can even sound like a type of ‘psychedelic distortion’. There is a lot of this type of stuff featured on MBV’s Loveless album, that’s the charm that it has.
Ranging from songs such as “Touched” and “Sometimes” there is a certain beauty to its distortion of the instruments. It’s the type of stuff you hear at first and don’t really understand, but then it just ends up growing on you. This probably explains why Shoegaze wasn’t immediately popular in its time. Out of personal choice, I believe that “Loomer”, “When You Sleep”, and “Only Shallow” are by far the best songs on the album because they provide that catchy distorted sound that instantly captures you at some point with its gorgeous riffs and rich colliding sounds. There is always something to reminisce when listening to these songs, “Loomer” has this darkness to it, but it’s a type of darkness which is provided by the deep and dense sound of the guitar which makes it a ‘romantic’ type of ‘darkness’. “When You Sleep” has that riff at the beginning that sounds very upbeat yet the distortion in the song is kept authentic and levelled off very well. “Only Shallow” has this rowdy sound to it, it’s like a mix of distorted darkness with a fluffiness to it. Each song on the album is able to create its own personality, “Come In Alone” has this ‘mixed emotions’ feel to it which truly explain the title and it expresses in depth the feelings behind it. “Blown A Wish” has a certain sweetness that simply cannot be missed with its vocals and simple drumming, but then again it is overcome by the chorus and its heaviness.
The whole album can be described as an original work of art with its creative and innovative sound, making My Bloody Valentine the kings of Shoegaze. It’s true that on most of the songs the lyrics cannot be understood so in theory it makes it tough for an audience to sing along to. Although this is the case, this album continues to be legendary, because at the end of the day the sound of it is something else, pretty much out of this world. Even though not much is understood of what is sang, one can make their own interpretations, thus this is not only just an album, but a work of art! It makes the album in a sense appear personal to the listener, even the vocals which aren’t understood are an instrument in expressing to the listener the song and its emotion.