Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

There are two kinds of people out there – those who love My Bloody Valentine and those who hate My Bloody Valentine. And no, I’m not talking about the gore-infested 3D motion picture, but instead of the very foundation of shoegaze rock as we know it today

After sitting as one of the headliners at last summer’s All Points West festival in Liberty State Park, they seem to be making a small comeback to the current music scene. Although many may not particularly like the kind of noise MBV puts off, the band’s 1991 release Loveless is hailed as being one of the greatest albums of all time.

The record’s cover is truly a testament to what the band is all about. The different hues of magenta and purple blend together like a smudge painting, vaguely creating the shape of a guitar neck and body. It’s almost like someone set the camera shutter WAY low and let Kevin Shields (guitar, vocals) himself strum away under the stage lights, leaving only the blurred trails documented.

And that same concept really parallels their music as well. The vocals are so buried by guitar loops and muffled drums that it’s almost impossible to make out what Shields is singing half the time. But that kind of openness to interpretation is what has made Loveless such a big source of inspiration to bands like Radiohead and Guided by Voices. Their consistent choice of low-fi, blurred images has made their own mark of inspiration as well.

I sense a bit of irony, too, when I look at the cover. The album is called “Loveless,” but its basic make up and overall tone seems to me anything but. Everything we’re told of love is blurry, confusing and blissful. When you think of that feeling and what it means, you think of pink and red and those sorts of hues. The juxtaposition of placing an album name like Loveless onto an image that, in the common sense, would seem to be a visual representation of what we know love as, is humorous and very interesting.

Even listening to the record, while there may be a sense of apathy and emptiness, you can’t help but feel a taste of utopia. Everything sounds so natural, free and, well, beautiful. Isn’t that what love is? Ongoing, blind ecstasy of unending limits, predictions or rules? Loveless puts all those rules into debate by just simply naming the album.

It’s just another layer My Bloody Valentine has placed under their spellbinding music. Like the cover itself, the album is soft, blended and smooth. This album is no naked baby under water or a nurse holding a syringe. It’s nothing more than a series of blurred lines, questions and speculations. And that’s when there really is no limit at all.