Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

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babydoll
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Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby babydoll » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:28 am

I'd like to apologize for the late delay, but 4th of July kept me a little busy to go through the Rank the Tracks lists submitted. But My Bloody Valentine!

Image
Loveless (1991) tracklisting:
01 | Only Shallow
02 | Loomer
03 | Touched
04 | To Here Knows When
05 | When You Sleep
06 | I Only Said
07 | Come In Alone
08 | Sometimes
09 | Blown a Wish
10 | What You Want
11 | Soon

See the pretty rainbows in the distance?

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby deadpacifist » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:47 am

01 | Only Shallow
08 | Sometimes
11 | Soon
07 | Come In Alone
10 | What You Want
05 | When You Sleep
09 | Blown a Wish
06 | I Only Said
04 | To Here Knows When
02 | Loomer
03 | Touched

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby whuntva » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:38 am

Only Shallow
Soon
Come In Alone
Sometimes
Blown a Wish
When You Sleep
To Here Knows When
I Only Said
Loomer
Touched
What You Want



Aside from the first and last track, they all blend together.
" Ah, yes! Our meager restitution"

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Ulysses » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:14 am

1. Only Shallow
2. Soon
3. Blown A Wish
4. To Here Knows When
5. I Only Said
6. When You Sleep
7. Loomer
8. Sometimes
9. Come In Alone
10. Touched
11. What You Want

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby EmilienDelRey » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:26 pm

11 | Soon
01 | Only Shallow
09 | Blown a Wish
07 | Come In Alone
06 | I Only Said
05 | When You Sleep
04 | To Here Knows When
08 | Sometimes
02 | Loomer
10 | What You Want
03 | Touched

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby nedfla » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:07 pm

11. Soon
10. What You Want
8. Sometimes
7. Come In Alone
5. When You Sleep
4. To Here Knows When
2. Loomer
1. Only Shallow
6. I Only Said
9. Blown A Wish
3. Touched

I'm not getting why so many lists rank What You Want low. That chorus is one of my favorite sounds ever produced by a guitar.

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby EmilienDelRey » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:09 pm

THE JOSHUA TREE:

02 | I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
03 | With or Without You
01 | Where the Streets Have No Name
09 | One Tree Hill
05 | Running to Stand Still
07 | In God's Country
10 | Exit
11 | Mothers of the Disappeared
04 | Bullet the Blue Sky
08 | Trip Through Your Wires
06 | Red Hill Mining Town

MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY:

1 | Runaway
2 | Power
3 | Hell of a Life
4 | Devil in a New Dress
5 | Lost in the World
6 | Dark Fantasy
7 | All of the Lights
8 | Who Will Survive in America
9 | Blame Game
10 | Georgeous
11 | Monster
12 | So Appalled
13 | All of the Lights (Interlude)

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO:

1 | Sunday Morning
2 | Heroin
3 | Femme Fatale
4 | All Tomorrow's Parties
5 | I'm Waiting for the Man
6 | I'll Be Your Mirror
7 | Venus in Furs
8 | There She Goes Again
9 | Run Run Run
10 | The Black Angel's Death Song
11 | European Son

THRILLER:

1 | Billie Jean
2 | Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
3 | Baby Be Mine
4 | Thriller
5 | Beat It
6 | Human Nature
7 | P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
8 | The Girl Is Mine
9 | The Lady in My Life

REVOLVER:

1 | Here, There and Everywhere
2 | Tomorrow Never Knows
3 | Eleanor Rigby
4 | She Said, She Said
5 | Good Day Sunshine
6 | And Your Bird Can Sing
7 | I'm Only Sleeping
8 | For No One
9 | I Want to Tell You
10 | Got to Get You into My Life
11 | Love You To
12 | Taxman
13 | Doctor Robert
14 | Yellow Submarine

WHAT'S GOING ON:

1 | Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
2 | What's Going On
3 | Mercy Mercy Me
4 | What's Happening Brother
5 | Right On
6 | God Is Love
7 | Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)
8 | Save the Children
9 | Wholy Holy

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Honorio
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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Honorio » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:54 am

01 | Only Shallow
05 | When You Sleep
08 | Sometimes
11 | Soon
07 | Come In Alone
09 | Blown a Wish
02 | Loomer
06 | I Only Said
10 | What You Want
03 | Touched
04 | To Here Knows When

Do you want to know why "To Here Knows When" is the last song on my list? Well, I'm afraid the explanation is going to be too long. At your own risk...

"Indulge in perfectionism:
Normally, the clock's ticking, money's being spent—you don't have time to really check out all those things that were maybe slightly troubling you in the back of your mind. But with "Loveless," all those things were gone through to the nth degree and made to be right.
For example, we were recording a tambourine part for "To Here Knows When" and we ended up spending an entire week recording just that one part. You might think it must have been a complex part, but in fact, it wasn't—it was just two tambourine beats repeated. Most people, if they were going to make a tambourine beat, they'd tap one out, loop it, and in three or four minutes, they'd have it done. The difference, with Loveless, is first we needed the right sound, so we recorded from a whole selection of tambourines. Then we had to decide which mic to use and test it, just to get the exact kind of tone that sat really well with the song. Then it had to be played with a really nice feel. From that, a bunch of candidates were selected. Then a lot of time was spent treating them in such a way, moving them ahead or behind the beat, trying to get it exactly right. When I tell them that story, people ask "Can you even hear it at the end of the day?" And I tell them, "It really, really feels nice. It has, like, a perfect groove."
(Joe Berkowitz, How a Classic Is Created: My Bloody Valentine and the Making of "Loveless")

OMG, how pretentious! Now please listen to the tambourine part in "To Here Knows When." Can you really feel this "perfect groove"? Can you even get to listen to it? A tambourine played in semi-quavers with the strong beat on the first of eight semi-quavers (so the typical tambourine rhythm on pop music) mixed so low that's on the verge of inaudibility. What's the use of checking so many tambourines, check the correct distance to the microphones and to struggle to find the perfect groove for a whole week if you end burying it in the mix?

That's the main problem with "Loveless" for me. So many years of glowing praise and hyperbolic expressions from the critics "has elevated “Loveless” to an untouchable status of which it simply isn't worthy" (Sarah Smith for Faster Louder) and has made "Loveless" for me the perfect definition of overrated and indulgent. I know I'm on minority here (some of you consider "Loveless" the best album ever) but before you begin to stone me let me try to explain my opinion. Of course I acknowledge that the album is original (groundbreaking if you want) and its sound is absolutely unique. While not entirely new (some obvious influences are The Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins and Sonic Youth) the sound of this album supposed the peak of shoegaze and was largely influential. Anyway it's not without flaws, in my opinion, mainly two:

a) Form over substance.
Surely the album is innovative but these innovations are almost entirely in the "technical" department. In Spanish we have an expression perfectly apt to define this, "mucho ruido y pocas nueces," literally "too much noise and few nuts" that in English translates as "too much ado about nothing" or "more soap than substance." If you peel away the many layers of noise (that's why the Spanish set phrase apply so well) you find simple indie pop songs. Pleasant enough I suppose but there's nothing so revolutionary at the core. An interesting harmonic turn now and then (an unexpected G#m9 chord on "When You Sleep" or the open tuning in F# producing beautiful harmonies on "Soon") but nothing is that remarkable in the songwriting department. Of course there's no need to write a Schubert lied in pop music but I got the feeling that Kevin Shields used the opposite approach to music that used Brian Wilson or Stevie Wonder, people that write complex songs that seem simple because of the ear-friendly sound. Shields write simple songs that seem complex because of the decidedly ear-unfriendly sound (and I'm aware that qualifying it as ear-unfriendly I'm giving extra points to those that consider the album a masterpiece).
And I can't speak about the lyrics, the voice is so buried in the mix that I'm unable to decipher many words but a quick peep at the lyrics on the net revealed that are good but not too special. But, again, there's no need to write a Shakespeare sonnet in pop music. And moreover the lyrics in shoegaze music are not the point at all, aren't they?

b) Pretensions over results.
So, if the songs themselves are good but not great (IMHO) what makes "Loveless" so special? It must be the sound, isn't it? Again I can deny the uniqueness on the album sound but (maybe) not every decision on the production was the right one. Please let me rank from 1-3 the success of production on three main different departments:
1. Vocals: to me the clear winner (and not the much lauded guitars). These dreamy, ethereal vocals are the most outstanding aspect of the album for me. Legend says that few effects were applied, the breathy effect was mainly achieved recording many vocal takes (up to 16) with the singers singing softly, then mixing it together and (how not?) burying them in the final mix. Kevin Shields once stated that the vocals were not really mixed that low but equalized in a way that competed with the guitars for the same aural frequencies so the final sensation for the listener is that the vocals are mixed much lower. "You can't hear the vocals any clearer no matter which way you play them, they share too much of the same frequency as the guitar" (Kevin Shields on Mike McGonigal's "33 1/3: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless").
2. Guitars: of course, the guitars, the mythical wall of noise, the main reason of the more-than-two-years-in-the-making. Shields again chose the most difficult path to record them. In his own words: "There are some other sounds in there and it's the sound of feedback that we made these little melodies with. We just spent weeks and weeks just making loads of feedback and then I'd listen back to it and all the nice bits I'd kind of sample. I did this so much over the years, you know sample feedback and then instead of having a tone on a keyboard you have a tone that bends slightly and then you play it like a keyboard, treat it like a keyboard sound, you know, and just make little melodies based on little twists in the sample” (Kevin Shields interviewed by Eric Tischler for Tape OP). Of course, it's an interesting way of working although it can very obsessive (as it was in fact for Kevin Shields that reportedly suffered from tinnitus during the "Loveless" sessions because of the prolonged exposure to ear-shattering volumes of the feedbacks of his guitars). Anyway, and going back to my opinion, is really that interesting this wall of noise? Can you really appreciate these little melodies supposedly created by the feedback? Maybe putting this white noise (or pink noise like Kevin Shields prefer) on the foreground is ground-breaking but... is it so enjoyable? In my opinion, the noise in itself does not detract but, of course, does not add. Just for being noisier doesn't mean is better. And doesn't mean that is worse too. Al least for me.
3. Ryhthm section: despite what could seem reading the last paragraph I got nothing against the wall of guitars but I'm definitely AGAINST the way the drums (and bass) are mixed for the album, that's the part I like the least. The funniest thing is that I actually like quite a lot the drumming on the album, there were a quite nice amount of Hip Hop influenced rhythm patterns like the ones in "Soon" or "I Only Said" (it seems that the drums were played almost entirely by Shields himself, and so was the bass, despite what is written on the album credits Colm Ó Ciosóig and Debbie Googe played very little on the album). The problem for me is the purposely awful equalization that created this thin, flat, lifeless and flaccid sound. And I'm not the only one thinking like this. "The real quibble concerning Loveless' production should be over the drums. They make an ostentatious entrance on the album's opening track, "Only Shallow," retreat to the background after a few seconds, and largely remain there until the dance-inflected finale, "Soon." Equally as troubling is how slapdash they sound" (Ryna Folley for All Shook Down). "The fact that Colm Ó Ciosóig's drums – so vibrant on the band's debut, 1988's "Isn't Anything" – are a barely audible sideline to Shields' guitar show (he was absent for most of the recording) seems a glaring critical oversight" (Sarah Shields for Faster Louder). I don't agree though, it was not an oversight at all, it was made absolutely on purpose (it seems that Kevin Shields recorded every instrument with no compression at all to aply extreme amounts of compression to the final mix ending with this thin sound of the drums).
Same about the bass. Another absurd story (tambourine-style) about the recording of the bass was told by producer Alan Moulder: "(The bass) had to have these specific Steinberg strings and we were changing them three times a day. Kevin always had to have the strings very fresh on guitars and so he'd change them as soon as they had lost their zing. So we cleared the whole of London out of these strings" (Alan Moulder for The Polymath Perspective). Much to the dismay of Alan McGee (legend says that Creation almost bankrupted because of the expensive sessions for "Loveless") Shields needed to change the strings three times a day (!) to end removing all the bass frequencies with all this tremendous compression in the mix making impossible (even for the most trained ear) to appreciate this "zing" on the bass strings, it's even hard to indentify the bass itself amidst the hypercrowded range of the mid-treble frequencies.

Well, that's all I think. I'm completely aware that the unconventional mixing and the stubborn and uncompromising attitude of Shields fighting for his unique vision of the sound is the thing the fans of "Loveless" cherish the most. "I wonder if these albums actually owe their cult status, at least in part, to the fact that they are so unfriendly or unfamiliar to the listener. They appeal, I think, to a particular kind of fan who wears the difficulty of his music as a badge of pride" (Sam Inglis for Sound on Sound). I don't agree completely with Inglis but maybe this is partially true. I honestly think that a different mix (with a not so compressed equalization, with more presence of bass frequencies, with more prominent and energetic drums, with the voices not so buried in the mix and keeping the wall of guitars intact) could have made a much better album. In fact the many moments of sweeping beauty could have been much more intense with a different, more emotional mix. But in this case the album wouldn't have been nearly as difficult and many of the rabid fans wouldn't have been able to wear this badge of pride.

Well I just hope not having offended anyone. Now you can stone me. But remember, everybody must get stoned!


PS: next week I'm going to have very limited Internet access so probably I won't be able to reply your comments. But please jump in defence of your beloved "Loveless"!! I'll try to reply later…

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby babydoll » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:37 pm

Thanks, Honorio, for the great post! And I will have to get the results up just a bit later today... Kind of a hectic time for me.

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby sonofsamiam » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:37 pm

11 | Soon
05 | When You Sleep
01 | Only Shallow
09 | Blown a Wish
06 | I Only Said
08 | Sometimes
07 | Come In Alone
10 | What You Want
04 | To Here Knows When
02 | Loomer
03 | Touched

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Romain » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:26 pm

Each times I ask myself why I like this album!? And each time this sonic gloubiboulga still touch something in me.

Great:
03 | Touched
06 | I Only Said
09 | Blown a Wish

Good:
01 | Only Shallow
05 | When You Sleep
02 | Loomer
11 | Soon
08 | Sometimes

OK:
07 | Come In Alone
04 | To Here Knows When
10 | What You Want

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Jackson » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:54 pm

Still my #1 of all time...gotta respect Honorio for his epic take-down of the album above though. There are many highly praised albums I feel the same way about. I won't even try to rebut his points as this album is pure ear candy to me while also conveying tremendous emotion. so I'm not really able to explain how I feel to someone who doesn't seem to like the idea of how this sounds.

01 | Soon
02 | To Here Knows When
03 | When You Sleep
04 | Sometimes
05 | Blown a Wish
06 | I Only Said
07 | Only Shallow
08 | Loomer
09 | Come In Alone
10 | Touched
11 | What You Want

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Honorio » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:24 pm

Many thanks for your comments, Jackson (and for your ballot). Of course, I'm perfectly fine with your personal enjoyment of the album. If the album can convey tremendous emotion to you but not to me it's absolutely OK. Personal reactions to a work of art are not easily transferable. A different thing in my opinion is to like something because it is considered cool to like it. But anyway, "let him who is without sin cast the first stone," everyone's tastes (including mine) are built following other people's suggestions. In fact we are in a site that celebrates the critically acclaimed albums and songs.
On a side note, after Romain's ballot we had a new number one song that only lasted for a couple of days.

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby jamieW » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:29 pm

11 | Soon *
05 | When You Sleep
01 | Only Shallow
08 | Sometimes
06 | I Only Said
02 | Loomer
03 | Touched
04 | To Here Knows When
07 | Come In Alone
09 | Blown a Wish
10 | What You Want

I definitely fall in the middle of the Jackson/Honorio spectrum with this album. I think it's very consistent in quality throughout and sets a mood/tone that felt fresh and innovative at the time. However, rating songs individually, only "Soon" is an 8 with me (although "Only Shallow," "When You Sleep," and "Sometimes" are all very close). This is definitely an album where the sum is greater than the parts for me.

Overall album rating: 6.77

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby IllumiThottie » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:04 am

1) Sometimes
2) Only Shallow
3) Loomer
4) To Here Knows When
5) When You Sleep
6) Soon
7) Come In Alone
8) Touched
9) I Only Said
10) Blown A Wish
11) What You Want

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby ordinaryperson » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:40 am

01 | When You Sleep
02 | Only Shallow
03 | I Only Said
04 | Soon
05 | Blown a Wish
06 | Sometimes
07 | Loomer
08 | Come In Alone
09 | To Here Knows When
10 | What You Want
11 | Touched
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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby bootsy » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:19 am

01 | Only Shallow
08 | Sometimes
09 | Blown a Wish
06 | I Only Said
05 | When You Sleep
02 | Loomer
11 | Soon
04 | To Here Knows When
07 | Come In Alone
10 | What You Want
03 | Touched

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby DaveC » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:37 am

08 | Sometimes
05 | When You Sleep
07 | Come In Alone
11 | Soon
01 | Only Shallow
06 | I Only Said
10 | What You Want
09 | Blown a Wish
02 | Loomer
03 | Touched
04 | To Here Knows When

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby talking » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:59 am

04 | To Here Knows When
02 | Loomer
07 | Come In Alone
11 | Soon
06 | I Only Said
09 | Blown a Wish
01 | Only Shallow
05 | When You Sleep
08 | Sometimes
03 | Touched
10 | What You Want

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby bonnielaurel » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:39 pm

01 | Only Shallow
06 | I Only Said
02 | Loomer
09 | Blown a Wish
07 | Come In Alone
11 | Soon
03 | Touched
10 | What You Want
08 | Sometimes
05 | When You Sleep
04 | To Here Knows When

This confirms my theory that the first track has an advantage.
They give awards for that music? I thought just ear plugs. (Woody Allen in Annie Hall)

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby talking » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:49 am

I'm really curious as to why THKW seems to be landing so low on most people's lists? I figured it was considered by most to be among their finest tracks. To me, it's their crowning achievement.

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby Honorio » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:17 am

Well, talking, I can't speak for the others but my reason why "To Here Knows When" is last on my list is explained profusely above in this same thread...

talking, I'm still waiting for your answer on the "Daydream Nation" thread.

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Re: Rank the Tracks: My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (1991)

Postby antonius » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:20 pm

11 | Soon
01 | Only Shallow
02 | Loomer
05 | When You Sleep
06 | I Only Said
03 | Touched
08 | Sometimes
07 | Come In Alone
09 | Blown a Wish
10 | What You Want
04 | To Here Knows When


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