January 23, 2012

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)
Rating: 0.0

As I put quill to parchment and started formulating ideas for music album reviews, thoughts went through my mind - what of my favourite artists' work shall I review first, and what score shall I give them.  I have just remembered the whole reason for a rating system, and that is to assess and evaluate the quality of music - all music, of all quality.

Of course, there are different ways to perceive and digest music, - music is social, music is reclusive. Music is what the listener wants it to be. As I have stated in past reviews, I believe there is an objective standard to music, but we all have our own subjective opinions on what that standard is.

I gave Mozart's Requiem a 10.0 in my very first written review and in a sense, it has become the measuring stick. So I asked myself, what about the other end of the spectrum?  What is a 0.0 album? The answer came to me instantly, and that was My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. If Requiem is a 10.0 for it's ability to transcend the listener to a state of Godliness and illumination, then Loveless is the antithesis to Mozart's divine work, music that is symbolic of soullessness and spiritual decay.

The worst thing I can say about Loveless is that it causes confusion when I listen to it. There is other such music that can cause confusion, such as free jazz - but free jazz has a context for its existence, a derivative of bop and modal jazz, and is often played with talented musicianship. It breaks the structure, but only after fully learning it. Loveless breaks the structure of music but has no context for it's disgust. An amalgamation of repulsive sounds that serves only to cause agitation in the listener with its unpleasant cognitive effects.

Even the term 'Shoegaze' that is related to Loveless and surrounding music, I question as to its effect on the listener, as much as the music itself. Shoegaze, gazing at one's shoes - it gives connotations of weakness and shyness, discouraging anyone who may be caught up in the pied piper's obscene melody to live a life opposite to that of a real man or woman.

I could go on, but to do so would be futile. Loveless, simply put, is pure fucking dogshit. The sad part is, many people enjoy the taste of this blend of dogshit.


  1. "Loveless breaks the structure of music but has no context for it's disgust. An amalgamation of repulsive sounds that serves only to cause agitation in the listener with its unpleasant cognitive effects."

    It's called dissonance, and as an aspiring writer and music reviewer, as well as a keen guitarist and a competent music producer you should be familiar with the term and it's effect within music.

    My issue is not so much with your review, but with your reasoning for it. As a reviewer, you need to be able to distance yourself and your personal taste in music from the context of your review. You need to be able to assess the quality of the work and it's place within the genera, without needing to appreciate the work or the genera. You don't need to be a Rap fan to review a Rap album and when you do review a Rap album you can't just give them all a rating of zero because you don't like Rap.

    You may not appreciate Loveless or that sytle of music, and you may not even understand why people would make a Loveless or why people would listen to and like a Loveless, but you do have to be able to discern, that for people who do find enjoyment in that style of music, Loveless is a quality piece of work.

    Being a music reviewer is not about telling everyone what music you like or don't like, it is about subjectively analyzing a piece of work based on it's shortcomings and it's merits.

    Above you said:

    " I have just remembered the whole reason for a rating system, and that is to assess and evaluate the quality of music - all music, of all quality"

    I think you might have forgotten again as quickly as you remembered. There is absolutely a 'quality' to Loveless, even if you don't agree with the content. And calling it 'pure fucking dogshit' is hardly subjective.

    Having said that, good luck with your new blog. I hope you will keep an open mind towards music and not fall into the music snob trap that says the only valid music is Classical or Free Form Jazz or similar artsy, pretentious forms of music. I don't mean to suggest there is anything wrong with those styles or that the music itself is so pretentious, but rather the fans of the style who name drop the bands and look down on those who like a more primitive sound.

    Best of luck...

    1. BTW it is Genre not Genera. Maybe I was just tired...

    2. Thanks for the in-depth reply and I can see where you are coming from.. as a musician myself, I do know of dissonance as you suggest, but I think there is a difference between dissonance that has a context within the music and a whole album of meaningless noise - which is what Loveless sounds like to me.

      Also, on genre - I do think there is a different quality to all genres and while I can appreciate different music is for different occasions, some classical pieces have the power to move the listener deeply, whereas I believe a lot of modern music is degenrated and represents a crass culture. Is that pretentious? No.. is it elitist? Perhaps it can be viewed as that way, but if you had the chance to dine on the finest cut or a bad cut of meat, you know which one you would choose. Of course, comparing music and food is kind of ridiculous and as I said, all music is made for different occasions, but should there still not be a level of objectivity to aspire to in life? If everything was created equally there would be no earth and no humanity and just a blank space, because we would all be equal and thus equal to nothing.

      I know my blog is relatively new, but as you can see I am going to try and review a wide variation of music, with my first three albums being classical, indie rock and a shoegaze album. I don't think I'm pretentious in anyway and I'm not at all image conscious, so if you keep up with my blog I think you'll be pleased to see we're likeminded in that regard - even if we disagree about whether all genres have their own merits or not.

  2. "I believe a lot of modern music is degenrated and represents a crass culture"

    Funny you should mention this. In my 20's I came across a record label called Crass Records that signed a lot of punk and hardcore bands in the late 70's and early 80's, and I really started to explore some of those bands and their low brow music. Much of it was Anarchist style music and there was very little production value to it. Just a lot of raw sound and some shouts. But it caused a response in me, which is what art and music is meant for, and so I liked it.

    Music is about emotion. If the performers put emotion into it, and if it brings emotion out of the listener, then it is valid. Since Loveless seems to have brought some emotion out of you (incredulity) then at least it must be valid in that regard : )

    I look forward to your next review.


  3. That's true, but I believe everything in life evokes an emotion. Looking at a tree evokes a deep emotion, eating food, drinking water. Loveless evoked an emotion of confusion and disgust, hence the 0.0 haha..

    Nice that we can be cordial in our dialogue though, some people would jump at me with claws out if they found my review insulting

  4. After reading your interesting review of The La's on Rate Your Music where you gave the album a 7.1 for no other reason than it felt right, I decided to check out your reviews here. When I started reading this review I looked forward to discussions of the beauty of the layered guitars, like a symphony but with all the instruments combined into one. I think "Sometimes" is one of the most beautiful songs of all time. But I digress.

    Your initial mission of rating music based on content rather than subjective opinions was ruined by saying that Loveless is dogshit, how would you feel if someone called Mozart dogshit? I personally think Beethoven is better myself, but again I digress.

    There is much more to this album than noise. There are melodies, countless layers of sound made through hours and hours work, and if that is the sound of spiritual decay then I can't wait for that decay.

    On that note it seems like you are grading music from a religious perspective and how well it fits into divine ordinance, knowing that I think I won't be coming here again too often as that's ridiculous. You were right about the La's though, that's a great album although 7.1 is way too low for an album that you said sums up your entire hometown. Still knowing how arbitrary your ratings are does make me feel better about you giving this genius album a 0.0.