Track No. 4 - 5 min 31 sec - "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine (Creation, Sire Records, 1991)
Words - Belinda Butcher and Kevin Shields / Production - Alan Moulder
Your red button
Falls from my mouth
If you put on a set of headphones, it feels as if a swarm of fireflies have got loose in your skull. Enchanted ones, no damage done, as they light your eyes aflicker. And they've brought tambourines and effects petals along. Alternatively, it might be you're attending an operetta
after having your hair dried by a jet engine. Either way, this is five solid minutes of disassociating resonance, closer to pure opiate than ought legally to be hawked in a musical medium.
Over your head
It's been so long
With every studio trick conceivable, ratcheted up on enough tremulousness to defy belief; it will sound either genius or decadent to most. But what's that line about genius - having its easy, surviving it's the trick. Band members reputedly played their guitars under blankets, like ghosts, for some tracks and as with the better part of Loveless, this song is nonsensically florid and dazedly charming. The sensuality of the lyrics downplayed by an atonal and spectral delivery - only sleepwalkers serenade
like this. What sense there is you'll have to bring to this half-haunting, half-meteoric ballad - vertiginous lust, reverentially off-kilter.
Because that way
You touch her too
Now being the second-longest cut on a three-year, eighteen engineer, dozen studio spaces, £140,000 recording, we assume it’s sculpted to seem this blurred, broken and beguiling
. After seven years together, it was the last album the band would ever record and this track, in particular, feels as if perhaps they knew. It screams swan song: grandiose, sweeping, taking a wall of sound aesthetic to a final elliptical
conclusion. So completely beyond typical noise-rock from the time, the guitars might as well be recorded down suspended culverts. At least a half-dozen tape loops of droning atmospherics are in use. A wall of gauzy reverb
separates our ear and whatever vocal track was initially made. Belinda sounds either sedated out of regret and reason, narcomaniacally hopeless
, or both.
Come back again
To here knows when
I took a long walk with this song in my ears when I was seventeen - mercifully my last year at home. Four hours I wandered around listening to Loveless on a winter's night. The walkman
batteries ran down - to the sight of multicoloured Xmas strings smudged into pixel-point blurs, layers of glimmering ice slicking every branch and tree, vapour-spirals of breath in still night air, clouds wisps trailing past a clear pearl moon. I left the house manic with shame and doubt. The only medicine for calamity is to substitute something as saturating, as crushing, as impossibly gorgeous as the fear is awful. If a song can be salve, we've here a melody that approaches miracle and as close to heavenly as many of us are likely to ever get.
If you haven't heard or doubt, well, you really ought to give a go