Classic Video of the Week: My Bloody Valentine
The epitome of beautiful noise.
I know that the official pop music history line is that all we cared about from the fall of 1991 to the spring of 1992 was Nevermind and the attendant birth of grunge, but that's not really the way I remember it. Sure, that album was inescapable, but speaking for myself, my big obsession around then was My Bloody Valentine's second album, Loveless.(Well, and also Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub, but that's a story for another video.)
When it came out in November 1991, Loveless sounded like nothing else I had ever heard: even the band's earlier records hadn't prepared me for it. Bandleader Kevin Shields constructed the songs out of layers of loops and samples, most of them so heavily processed that it's pointless to try to tease out what instrument or voice is making which noise. The iconic Loveless album cover is a perfect visual representation of that process, as is the staticky, overdriven effect of this video.
I've had recurrent tinnitus in my right ear for most of my adult life, and though that's almost entirely my own fault -- I was never careful about volume control in my younger days -- I've always assumed that the time I saw My Bloody Valentine at Austin's Liberty Lunch during the Loveless tour was what pushed me over the edge: during the epic closing "You Made Me Realise," I could actually feel the air being pushed forward by the vibrations of the amps.