My Bloody Valentine is an Irish band that pioneered a genre of experimental pop/rock that came to be known as shoegaze (a name derived from not only the sound, but the stage posture of certain bands). The group lead by guitarist/vocalist Kevin Shields, was formed in 1983. They released their debut full length studio album Isn't Anything, in 1988. They followed with the 1991 release Loveless. My Bloody Valentine's musical approach is unique in a number of aspects. The vocals are often mixed in a very non-pop fashion, in that they are just one more element in the sonic wash, and not sitting up above the levels of the instrumental track. Various guitar tunings are employed to create ringing atmospheric effects that define the band's sound. The group went on hiatus from 1997 to 2007. They reformed in 2008 and released the album MBV in 2013. Here are ten of the best known and best loved tracks from My Bloody Valentine.
10."Only Tomorrow" - This is from the band's 2013 release MVB. Crunchy guitars, minimal vocals, a lot of pitch-bending strings sections, this track is a classic sounding My Bloody Valentine song, mining the sound that they innovated in the group's early years along with some new twists.
9."Loomer" - Another lo-fi gem that features rhythmically insistent guitars and breathy vocals that are quite beautiful. This is an atmospheric tune that becomes quite hypnotic. MBV fans are hooked on the band's signature sound for sure.
8."Come In Alone" - From the 1991 release Loveless, this song is a good example of another genre that MVB is associated with: noise pop. While this track incorporates some in-your-face noise elements, the vocal is really quite delicate, which is a juxtaposition that is yet another of the group's trademarks.
7."I Only Said" - Lots of guitar crunch and pitch-bending on this one. Also spacey vocals buried in the mix and a psych sounding overlay, all with that low fidelity noise factor as well. This is the type of tune that separates the true fan from the more casual listener, and I'm sure they would not have it any other way.
6."Soon" - This has an infectious instrumental hook that is almost like something from a slick pop hit. From the Loveless album, it also features some crunchy guitar sounds and vocals that rise out of the mix (almost) and contribute to the haunting as well as driving vibe of the track.
5."To Here Knows When" - This one has a dreamy '60s psychedelic vibe to it. It is more laid back and less aggressively driving than many My Bloody Valentine tracks. It has more of a drone quality than a guitar-driven noisy crunch.
4."Strawberry Wine" - There is an almost '60s sunshine pop feel here on this early MBV track. The vocals are mixed more up-front and the harmony blend along with the guitar jangle make for a very appealing combination of elements.
3."Only Shallow" - All the major My Bloody Valentine sounds are well represented on this track: guitar crunch, pitch bending, and breathy atmospheric vocals. This is the musical style that the band created, and no one does it better or more effectively.
2."You Made Me Realise" - This has more of a traditional hard rock edge at various points in the song. The vocals are again more prominent in the mix and the effect of the voices takes the track somewhere other than your everyday hard rock. Various sound overlays also contribute to the overall soundscape here.
1."Sometimes" - Buzzing guitars and ethereal vocals are the major elements here to be heard. MBV create a unique atmosphere on this highly defining track. A keyboard line also weaves through the proceedings as Shields and Co. lead us through the sonic mists.
My Bloody Valentine is a band that developed an experimental sound and created something new under the sun. That sound continues to be popular and influential. Keep up with all the latest new information on My Bloody Valentine here.