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LOVELESS made me a prick

LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 06:47AM
I finally bought LOVELESS just a few years ago, having known about its "classic" stature.

Here are a few select things I truly love- things I assume prove I'm not deaf and should allow me to detect the virtues of LOVELESS. I love Brian Eno's ANOTHER GREEN WORLD and APOLLO: ATMOSPHERES AND SOUNDTRACKS. I love the Cocteau Twins. I love Yo La Tengo. I love Rhino's NUGGETS boxsets. And the Shirelles. And the Pale Saints' "Sight Of You." THE STONE ROSES. etc...

A couple of times a year I listen to LOVELESS. I've listened to it while driving. I've listened to it as background music. I've laid down in a dark room and listened to it through headphones. I've listened to it each of these ways a few times and have heard it about a dozen times now.

I want to like it. I want to feel the pleasure that others feel.

But it has never sounded like anything other than a bland album to me. There are only 2-3 songs I wouldn't immediately skip, given the choice. And they're merely okay songs. Not great.

The experience of LOVELESS has consistently been like the experience of going home after a night at a loud, loud concert, my ears ringing, ringing ringing, to lay down and pay attention to a mediocre pop album.

I want to 'get it,' but after listening to it again last night I've finally reached the point I was dreading reaching. The point where I assume there's nothing to 'get' and that the LOVELESS defenders are either poseurs, or blinded by nostalgia for a youthful mistake they've never corrected. Or brainwashed or something.

Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 07:19AM
Yeah, I've never thought it was such a masterpiece. Love the first song, like the last song, don't recall much about the rest, but it's decent enough.

Maybe it's a novelty to noise-novices, but nothing revolutionary for those of us who'd spent the previous decade blasting "White Light White Heat," Flipper, Butthole Surfers, The Fall, Glenn Branca (who I saw last year with his 100-guitar army - I did not use the earplugs), Savage Republic, Sonic Youth, early SPK, early PiL, free jazz, Jesus & Mary Chain, Husker Du etc etc...

Post Edited (05-29-08 14:45)
Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 01:38PM
As you said in a different thread, you aren't particularly stupid. And, to paraphrase (the hell out of) Aristotle, one uncomprehended classic does not make a prick.

I probably haven't listened to Loveless more than ten times since I bought it, though I've never gotten rid of it. I enjoy it, but it's never become one of my musical touchstones. And compared to some of those albums that Fab mentioned — that is, the ones I happen to be familiar with — Loveless doesn't strike me as all that noisy.

Mats said it very well in this post. Perhaps it's not so much that you don't "get" Loveless ... more that it simply doesn't fit into your life, the way Eno, Cocteau Twins, Yo La Tengo and the others do.

Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 01:48PM
For me, LOVELESS was something special when it came out--in that time, in that context, with all that came before it. A lot has happened musically since then (and I've changed a lot), so I only return to it for reasons of nostalgia and because I'm "in the mood" for the album. Also: a caveat (and maybe Ira will back me on this), I think you also really had to see MBV live during that time to get the full visceral impact of what they were doing.

True though: It's not necessarily a timeless album.

Nevertheless, as a 20-year-old, it did blow my mind and up-end all of my preconceptions about music when it came out.
Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 05:09PM
I actually think MBV live was a bit of a letdown. First off, it was one of the loudest shows I've ever been to. And then, since obviously a lot of the stuff on the album is studio gimmickry of some sort, it didn't really translate well live. It was an interesting experience for sure, but they didn't come off as a particularly good live band.

All that said, I agree with what most have said above: Loveless was an album of its time. I enjoyed it then and listen to it every couple of years now, but it's no masterpiece. Now, don't make me start another thread about how overrated Radiohead is....
Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
May 29, 2008 11:17PM
I can't recall the last time I listened to it, but I was really, really into it way back when. It inspired me as a musician/novice engineer.

There's something about both LOVELESS and Primal Scream's SCREAMADELICA–I have very fond memories of each album, tracked down everything I could about 'em, played 'em into the ground for 5 to 7 years, then...?

Of course, I've never been a fan of The Stone Roses, so what do I know, right?
What Ira said. . .
May 29, 2008 06:43PM
in the Rolling Stone:

"My Bloody Valentine arrived at Creation in midcareer, but the Anglo-Irish quartet has become its flagship on a roiling sea of melodic dysfunction. A challenging storm of bent pitch, undulating volume and fractured tempos, Loveless has a calm eye at its center, an intimate oasis from which guitarists Bilinda Butcher and Kevin Shields gently breathe pretty tunes into the thick, sweet waves of droning distortion. Despite the record's intense ability to disorient – this is real do-not-adjust-your-set stuff – the effect is strangely uplifting. Loveless oozes a sonic balm that first embraces and then softly pulverizes the frantic stress of life."
Re: What Ira said. . .
May 29, 2008 08:03PM
It was Ira's review in RS that convinced me to check it out, and I love that album dearly. It's very soothing to me. I think "Loomer," "To Here Knows When," "When You Sleep," "Blown a Wish," and "Soon" are all very gorgeous.

Check out the Japancakes version, which plays up the melodies MBV buried under the noise.

I think in that very same review Ira panned Slowdive's Just For a Day, another album I love beyond all reason.
Re: What Ira said. . .
May 30, 2008 04:01PM
it's always weird to read something you don't remember writing and could not replicate
Re: What Ira said. . .
May 30, 2008 06:55PM
"Loveless oozes a sonic balm that first embraces and then softly pulverizes the frantic stress of life."

And would you really want to?!?
Re: What Ira said. . .
May 31, 2008 03:17AM
And I thought I was the only one obsessed w/you.

Strange indeed that you ira, would become a celebrated rock star.

edit: stick to the topic rockheads...

Michael Bakers description of LOVELESS as like 'showering in cotton balls" remains close to definitive on this, for some reason, recurring topic.
And please leave THE STONE ROSES out of it.

Post Edited (05-31-08 00:36)
Re: What Ira said. . .
June 05, 2008 09:50PM
speaking of parting out an album...

Aluminum ain't cheap these days, and the salvage man pays a good buck for scrap metal too, shoot electricians cain't even afford to buy copper these days.

So when that devil comes to temptin ya to strip down and cash in on that one big slab of sheet metal, though it's worth its weight in gold...

resist I say! and hold on tight to your copy of PSYCHOCANDY!
Re: LOVELESS made me a prick
June 04, 2008 10:29PM
For me, the problem with Loveless is that it's far more revered for its overall sound and subsequent influence than it is for the actual songs contained therein. While it may be true that MBV hit on something sort of special and unique on that album, only a few of its songs (like the fantastic When You Sleep) were able to match that same high standard. Whatever one might deem groundbreaking on Loveless still only amounted to one or two neat tricks and without a bevy of good songs to compliment the innovation, it remains both an exercise in labor and perseverance trying to get through the entire album.

I suppose one could argue that the album's value is realized only when taken as a whole but I contend that if you stripped this supposed classic you wouldn't get much for most of its parts on the open market.

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