My Bloody Valentine - Mbv
In truth, Loveless was pretty awful. The sound was so dense that individual components had become indistinct and the so-called layering of sounds was nothing more than putting noise on top of noise on top of noise until anything like a melody or a harmony disappeared into a miasma of aural sludge. At times, the sound actually became so distorted it went out of tune completely. Vocals were there, but they were drowned in all the mess. Lyrics? Who knows? They were probably there but you could not hear them so it did not matter anyway. The whole album was akin to walking through quicksand with a heavy cold.
But this is what the hipsters wanted. Something so obtuse and up its own backside. Admitting to not liking Loveless was, amongst the stick insects of college with their impossibly thin legs injected into impossiblty thin trousers while their impossibly thin lips smoked impossibly thin roll-ups under the mops of implausibly unruly hair, a social gaffe akin to farting in a lift. And then My Bloody Valentine announced, in late 2012, that they were in the studio recording another album. The hipsters, now fattened by years of good living at the taxpayers expense (one way or another) could barely refrain from containing their ecstasy as if they were trying to prolong an orgasm.
And so, here it is, MBV, the originally titled album which, twenty odd years later, is the follow up to Loveless. Read a few music websites and you will no doubt glean that this is already being touted as the best release of 2013 if not the decade. In fact, this hagiography was being undertaken even before the album was released. What chance was there for honest, detached appraisal?
Imagine if MBV had come out in, say 1991, and been called, say Loveless. Hipsters would have lauded it. Others, in order not to be left out, would have acclaimed it as the greatest shoegaze album of all time. Stories would have been told, legends even, about its production. All subsequent shoegaze albums would have been, unfavourably compared to it. Imagine if, 22 years later, the original Loveless had been released and called, let's say, MBV. Hipsters would have touted it as the album of the year, probably even before it had been released.
But this is not 1991. It is 2013. MBV is pretty much indistinguishable from Loveless. The same features which either appealed to you then, or put you off then, are here - noise piled upon noise; melody, harmony, vocals all those things swamped in the thick cloying noise for which those who praised Loveless and My Bloody Valentine pointed to as signs of greatness. The two albums and each song on them are totally interchangeable.
But 22 years have passed. My Bloody Valentine have done nothing except recreated an album they put out in 1991. Advances in production and sound manipulation have been ignored. New techniques passed by. All they have done is churned out the same album, or so it seems because you canot distinguish anything notable about any of these tracks any more than you could on Loveless. And yet, people are already praising MBV the way they did its predecessor.
And just as happened with Loveless I stand bemused. The Emperor still has no clothes but the body is 22 years older, saggy and less aesthetically appealing.
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on 2013-04-22 modrachlan Said:
Only hipsters would have found Loveless appealing, and that appeal was ironic, I suppose? I was nothing more than your average thirty-something music geek when Loveless came out, and, frankly, I did find it disappointing compared to Isn't Anything- but wait, isn't it hipster to say something like that?- anyway, it seemed quite "normal" and good in the larger musical context of the times. So you can't understand the words and things are out of tune? Welcome to 1991 shoegaze. I think the oft-neglected Swirlies did something way more interesting with the elements of the genre- Cats of the Wild Vol. II is more interesting to me than anything MBV did- but I digress. Loveless is no more a bad album for having layers of sound and being off-tune than a Brian Eno album is for lacking instruments or conventional song structure.
The only fundamental problem with MBV is it took ten more years to produce than it should have. It will never get a fair shake regardless of its merits for that reason alone. I remember when the Lemonheads self-titled album came out in 2006. That came out ten years too late as well, and I have yet to meet someone or read a review that gives it the benefit of the doubt and praises it for the solid comeback that it was.