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My Bloody Valentine
For the past six months or so, all I have been listening to is 90s music. Some borders onto the earlier 2000’s, but for the most part all I listen to is 90s music because to put it bluntly, the 90s were WAY BETTER. The music then was much more original, raw and depressing (I have a soft spot for sad music). My musical landscape ranges from emo (my favorite genre—think American Football, Knapsack, Jawbreaker), along with obvious embarrassing classic 90s tunes (think Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys) combined with some punk (think Latterman, Ameican Nightmare, Quicksand). Lately though the one band which has really convinced me why I belong in the 90s, is My Bloody Valentine and they don’t really fall into any of these categories.
For those of you who haven’t heard of them, My Bloody Valentine are not some 90s metal band (their name might seem like that though), they are actually one of the most influential alternative and shoegaze bands out there. Recently I was listening to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, a current band who formed just a few years ago, and I was sort of in awe at how similar they sound to MBV. Seriously, go and listen to anything off of The Pains self titled album compared to anything by My Bloody Valentine (especially the Sunny Sundae Smile EP) and you will be blown away at how clearly influenced The Pains were by MBV. And this isn’t uncommon in current music at all. There are so many bands just this past year who have come out with albums which sound like they were straight out of the 90s (the one which most clearly comes to mind is Yuck’s self titled debut). And like I said earlier, this is because the 90s were WAY BETTER musically then most generations.
So a little bit of background on My Bloody Valentine. They formed in the early 80s in Ireland when the drummer and guitarist met each other in school (I feel like so many bands meet this way). They have a similar backstory as most bands. Two of the original members (before forming MBV) were in a small London punk band which didn’t succeed. They eventually went on to form My Bloody Valentine and signed with Fever Records. They found a bass player and started busting out EP’s left and right. Their third EP, Sunday Sundae Smile, is my favorite of all MBV’s work. It’s fresh, catchy and simply a happy EP. Lyrics like “let’s fall in love, it’s exciting” are timeless, no matter the generation, people can relate to it.
The lead singer for the first three EP’s, Conway, eventually left after a while which gave My Bloody Valentine the perfect reason to start creating a new sound. They decided to start using two singers rather then just one and they shifted around their line up. They created more EP’s and there is a definite shift in the sound. Instead of this twee, lighthearted, bordering pop sound they showed in their first three EP’s, they were starting to become a heavier band. In 1988 their first LP Isn’t Anything was released. In 1991, one of the best albums ever created (at least in my opinion) came out. Generally regarded at MBV’s best work, Loveless is hands down one of the best shoegaze albums ever. The use of distortion, heavy noisy guitars with major droning riffs, and barely there vocals, truly signified My Bloody Valentine’s place in the shoegaze scene and in the alternative scene as well. Listen to any band who claims to be shoegaze these days and there is no doubt a sound to it which resembles MBV. My favorite song off of Loveless is “Soon,” it’s the best song to walk around and jam out to. When I walk around Boston I sing, I dance and I’m sure everyone around me thinks I’m crazy but generally the cause of my dancing is this song. Give “Soon” a listen, you won’t regret it. Since the 90s, MBV have played some reunion gigs at festivals but I’m really hoping there will be a full tour sometime soon so my inner 90s girl fan can live her dream. Plan on hearing lots of My Bloody Valentine on The Left End in the coming weeks, folks.