m b v - My Bloody Valentine
This is the most anticipated album of all time. Twenty-two years. Even hopes for a Beatles reunion were only possible for ten years. There has been people who have been waiting for this for the entire duration of my life. It’s absolutely crazy to think that there was no quick follow up to Loveless, with all of its immense popularity and with the way it absolutely ravaged the rock scene of the time. It’s easy to sympathize however, I’d imagine it quite nerve wracking to have to create something that could handle all the hype surrounding it. Even now, decades later, some still won’t enjoy m b v simply out of the inevitable comparison to Loveless. But you should not let yourself be one of those people. Why? Because m b v is good. Yes, good. It’s not going to spark up a new genre; it’s not going to be many people’s #1 record of all time; and it will never come close to the mythical being of Loveless. But it’s good. Were this any other band, that would be enough right? Of course, it’s impossible to divorce this record from context, but I think it is possible to purely experience m b v without having to put these two records on a scale. The dreary magic of these songs should be enough to take you out of the mindset of judgment. The blurry opening chords of ‘she found now’ do just that for me, placing me within the beautiful world of Lost in Translation, unconcerned with how the record could be rated on a 100 point gradient. On a one point scale, I’d give this album a one.
The new production quality of m b v gives them a heaviness they’ve never had before. The rock songs rock harder; the fog surrounded the drearier songs has never been denser. Though the sounds of the nineties are focused upon here, the production lends it a modern feeling. There are also new timbres to be explored. On my favorite song, “if i am,” the lucid needle of a guitar tone pierces through after the second verse, a sharply quivering sound I’ve never heard out of the instrument. And don’t even get me started on the jet engine that runs through the entirety of “wonder 2.” Genre lines are also explored on m b v. Though this album is rooted in their brand of shoegaze, they explore noise rock on “nothing is,” alt rock on “new you,” and they even take on Stereolab’s version of their own sound on “is this and yes.” But none of this gets to what makes this album such a success. What I love about m b v is that it is able to wildly experiment with the sound of pop music without ever losing the functionality of pop. These songs get stuck in my head. I have them all memorized, know all their little moments. And most of all they never fail to make me feel. Their sense of delirium, of adventure and of pure beauty is never lost on me; it always feels like everything they’re trying to express is received in transmission. That’s a lot more than I can say for most records.