On November 4th, 1991, My Bloody Valentine released their second studio album Loveless. The album is lauded as one of the greatest of all time by many and is the stuff of music industry legend.
Seen as an auteur work by guitarist Kevin Shields who allegedly performed nearly all instruments on the LP, despite credit being given to all present “even if all they did was fix tea”, according to Shields.
The only track not to be composed by Shields was “Touched”, which is credited to drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig, as it was composed and performed entirely by him. Ó Cíosóig
Guitarist Belinda butcher wrote nearly all the indecipherable lyrics on the record, save for the track “To Here Knows When”, to which she shares co-writing credits with Shields. Both Shields and Butcher contributed jointly to the vocals on the record overall.
The album took more than 2 and a half years to complete, and Both Butcher and Shields developed tinnitus while recording the album, which upon completion cemented the band’s reputation as being one of the loudest in alternative rock—so much so that earplugs are often sold or given away before My Bloody Valentine concerts.
During the spring of 1990, Anjali Dutt was hired to replace sound engineer Alan Moulder, who had left to work with the bands Shakespears Sister and Ride. Dutt assisted in the recording of vocals and several guitar tracks.
The recording process was slow in a piecemeal stop-start fashion, with tracks laid out instrument to instrument. Playing against conventions of the shoegaze genre they helped create, no chorus or flanger pedals were used in recording the record; Shields explains:
“No other band played that guitar like me […] We did everything solely with the tremolo arm.”
During the recording process for Loveless two EP’s were born; the first being the Glider EP, which featured also featured “Soon”, and the Tremolo EP, which also contained “To Here Knows When”.
The Cure’s Robert Smith had this to say about Loveless:
“[My Bloody Valentine] was the first band I heard who quite clearly pissed all over us, and their album Loveless is certainly one of my all-time three favourite records. It’s the sound of someone [Shields] who is so driven that they’re demented. And the fact that they spent so much time and money on it is so excellent.”
The album was also one of the main records explored in the 2014 documentary Beautiful Noise.
Loveless was the last record to be released by My Bloody Valentine until 2013’s m.b.v. LP.
Watch the videos for “Only Shallow”, “Soon”, and “To Here Knows When” below: