Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

A lot has been said about this piece, by way of interpretation and remarking on its mystique, but I intend, at the very least, to explain its appeal by way of what it has done for me. It's possible that without this album, I wouldn't be blogging for you today. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on whether you're actually reading these words, or if you clicked away when I said "by way of interpretation." I can be a pretentious douche sometimes.

I first sampled tracks from this album in 2009, looking for something new to listen to. As elitist as this sounds, I don't really think I was "ready" for it. I was still very much on the defensive about what I wanted from my music, and if something didn't hit that sweet spot of pop composition and artistic intent, I wasn't for it. If it was too poppy, it was trash, and if it was too artistic, it was bullshit. This was, naturally, on the latter side of things. The sound was all fuzzy and indistinct, the vocals were drowned out by nothingness, the guitars were abrasively weird... it was not for me. And I can't say I blame myself for thinking that, because hey, it did not suit my taste at the time.

But for whatever reason we do these things, I revisited it about a year later, this time taking the plunge by buying the album, knowing only the vague remembrance of "weird" music. Instead of sampling, of course, I let the album unfold as it was meant to be heard: as "Only Shallow" gave way to "Loomer" and "Touched" and so on, I became absorbed. I now appreciated the sound for ins otherworldliness, for all the work that went into making the songs sound not like songs, and not like symphonies, but like... dimensions in space and time, impossible to verbalize. My mind had been opened that much wider. I heard it as beautiful and evocative, without being chained to the concreteness of other music I know and still love. The album became a place I could keep visiting, and never see the same way twice.

What I'm getting at here is that this album opened up a lot of possibilities for me, and caused me to reconsider both the limits I had placed on what "music" could be, and the criteria by which I judged it. I'm still getting the hang of it, as you're seeing on this blog, but since allowing this CD into my life, I've become friendlier to music, more willing to accept each album on its own terms, and it's led me to a lot of neat places. And that's why I blog about it now, because I'm eager to challenge myself, to uncover more, to break limits I put on myself. You don't have to love this difficult, strange album, you just have to be willing to listen when music comes into your life.

Buy this album from iTunes now!

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