My Bloody Valentine are widely regarded as one of the most original and ground-breaking bands of all time. They inspire rare levels of devotion in their fans and are cited as an influence by thousands of subsequent artists in various genres. Pitchfork names Loveless as the best album of the nineties, Rolling Stone had it at number 219 in its “500 Greatest Albums of all Time” and The Irish Times puts it as number 1 in the “Top 40 Irish Albums of all Time”.
MBV are critically acclaimed and loved intensely for their melodies, musicianship, beauty and phenomenal power and Loveless is viewed by many as their timeless masterpiece.
But of course, not everybody likes it. Some people just don’t see the appeal. And some of those that have remained unimpressed have been good enough to share the benefit of their experience in online reviews over the years.
LE heads his/her one-star review of Loveless “A new definition for ‘terrible'” and speculates that “This has to be one of the worst albums ever recorded in the history of time”.
Anon, is of a similar opinion, also giving Loveless the minimum one star and a review entitled “A very bad album”, which concludes by comparing it to “a load of poop on a chair”. LB’s 2009 review states that the album is “The worst crap ever”.
HHB, continues the ‘crap’ theme with this considered, if grammatically suspect, advice:
“really really crappy don’t do this to yourself forget this crap and this stupid type of music”
Fair enough, HHB, doesn’t like it. This was flagged up in the title of the review (HHB‘s capitals) – “STUPID CRAP FROM THE DUMB BORING EARLY 90S” – but of more interest than that is this fascinating simile from the beginning of the review:
“This music is so stupid and weird not in a good unique way but just an uncomfortable way like when you are at someone’s house and you don’t like them and want to go home but you can’t and you probably have to spend the night in their living room…”
Huh? Does this happen to anyone else? HHB uses this as an example of something that’s “stupid”, “weird” and not “unique”, so it seems to be a regular occurrence for him/her. HHB doesn’t expand on this in the course of the review, which is a shame because it seems like he/she has a story to tell.
NS also has a story to tell and isn’t as shy as HHB. His/her review takes in Mozart, acid house and the Berlin Wall. Here’s a (small) excerpt:
“All notion of talent is historical, but some people certainly rely much more on contextual receptivity than voluntaristic [sic] genius. MBV are the former. Just like Mozart’s 2nd rate elevator work hypnotized his contemporaries who basically wanted music to sound pretty and dainty while they ate bonbons and powdered their wigs, MBV released a record during an age where, mindbogglingly people were willing to hear anything that sounded like apathy, but loud.”
Phew! NS is quite the iconoclast. Not content with having a pop at My Bloody Valentine and the early-nineties (again!), he/she has dragged Mozart into it as well. The review continues at length in the same vain – including the descriptions “passive-aggressive neuroticism” and “formally formless” – before concluding:
“Some people think this is the apex of music: music as music, pure music, a religious experience, the sublime that blows you away. Others like me simply keep powdering their wigs and eating bonbons.”
By the time I’d read the whole review I felt like I’d been forced to spend the night in the living room of someone I don’t like.
Predictably, NS’s gibberish provoked some reactions.
MF wrote, “I thought Pitchfork wrote impenetrable, dull reviews that manage to say little to nothing about the music. But this review…Jesus Christ.”
While B hit back with, “The powdered wig may be interfering with your hearing”. AM replied simply, “Are they particularly sour bonbons?”
NS may be wordy, but he/she has nothing on an anonymous review of Loveless from 2004 entitled “Quite possibly the worst album I’ve ever heard”. It goes on for more than 700 words. What’s wrong with succinctly comparing it to “poop on a chair” if that’s how you feel? Some of the highlights of the review include:
“just because something is unique doesn’t make that thing good”
“the most gut-wrenching horrific unattractive pile of terrible sounds that I have ever experienced”
“I cannot physically stand to listen to this album.”
Finally, if you feel like that last reviewer made a misstep in purchasing Loveless, wait until you hear from TM.
TM‘s 2010 review includes this line:
“I thought from the band name that they’d sound like My Chemical Romance, how wrong I was!”
A good thing, surely? But no! On closer inspection TM is disappointed by this, and has given Loveless two stars.
C responds to TM, asking:
“What on Earth possessed you to think it might sound like My Chemical Romance? Just because both bands have names that start with ‘My’?”
It’s a fair question and nicely put. But sadly it’s now seven years since C asked it and TM is yet to reply. Fortunately, My Bloody Valentine fans are a patient bunch.