Isn't Anything

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Isn't Anything
Studio album by My Bloody Valentine
Released 21 November 1988 (1988-11-21)
Recorded 1988 (1988) in at Foel Studio in Llanfair Caereinion, Time Square Studios and Greenhouse Studio in London, United Kingdom
Genre Alternative rock, shoegazing, post-punk
Length 37:48
Label Creation
Producer My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine chronology
You Made Me Realise
(1988)
Isn't Anything
(1988)
Loveless
(1991)
Singles from Isn't Anything
  1. "Feed Me with Your Kiss"
    Released: November 1988 (1988-11)

Isn't Anything is the debut full-length studio album by My Bloody Valentine, released on 21 November 1988 on Creation Records.

Background[edit]

After the band's original vocalist Dave Conway left in 1987, to be replaced by Bilinda Butcher, the band continued for a while in their previous noisy indie-pop style before Kevin Shields returned to their avant-garde roots, and began to explore the possibilities offered by the studio facilities available after signing to Creation Records in 1988.[1] The first fruit of this experimentation was the single/EP "You Made Me Realise", released in July 1988, with Isn't Anything following later that year.[2] Most of the album was recorded in a studio in Wales.[3] While recording the album over a period of two weeks, the band got by on about two hours sleep a night.[1][2] Bilinda Butcher described the effect of this: "Often, when we do the vocals, it's 7:30 in the morning: I've usually fallen asleep and have to be woken up to sing. Maybe that's why it's languorous. I'm usually trying to remember what I've been dreaming about when I'm singing."[2]

Style[edit]

Dave Thompson, in his book Alternative Rock, described the album's sound as "dry ice-piercingly intense guitar drones and hefty nods to miasmic hardcore soup, oozing a contrary trance-spun drone. Noise becomes beauty as feedback is layered over vocals over feedback ad infinitum".[4] "Several Girls Galore" has been described as "a cubist take on The Jesus and Mary Chain".[1]

The album proved to be a major influence on many bands that would subsequently be described as "shoegazing".[2]

Release[edit]

Isn't Anything was released in the United Kingdom on 21 November 1988 on Creation Records.[5] The album was released on LP, CD, and cassette. A limited edition of the first five thousand LP copies pressed included a bonus 7-inch single, featuring two instrumental tracks, both titled "Instrumental". The b-side track featured a Public Enemy drum loop from "Security of the First World."[6] In the United States, the album was released on Relativity Records and international distribution was handled by Sire Records in Canada, Virgin Records in France, Rough Trade Records in Germany and Stiletto Records in Brazil. Isn't Anything '​s lead single, "Feed Me with Your Kiss" was released alongside the album in November 1988 and was backed with three outtakes from the album's recording sessions—"I Believe", "Emptiness Inside" and "I Need No Trust."[7] "Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)" was also released as a promotional single in the United States in December 1988. Neither of the album's retail singles charted.

The album was reissued on CD by Warner Bros. Records in 1993 and 2001 and on Creation in 1996.[6] A 180-gram LP version of the album was released by Plain Records in 2008 and a remastered version of the album was released in June 2008.[8] An additional remaster, mastered by Shields at Metropolis Studios in London, was released on 4 May 2012.[9]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[10]
About.com 5/5 stars[11]
Robert Christgau A-[12]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[13]
Entertainment Weekly A-[14]
Pitchfork Media 10/10[15]
The Quietus Favourable[16]
Uncut Positive[17]

Upon its release, Isn't Anything received acclaim from critics. Allmusic editor Heather Phares referred to the album as "the most lucid, expansive articulation yet of the group's sound" and said the album "captures My Bloody Valentine's revolutionary style in its infancy and points the way to Loveless, but it's far more than just a dress rehearsal for the band's moment of greatness", awarding the album four and a half stars out of five.[10] Anthony Carew of About.com awarded the album a full five stars and described its style as "atonal, desconstructed, free-noise guitar playing" and noted that it had an "ethereal, spectral quality that radically reconfigured the predominant paradigms of rock'n'roll".[11] Entertainment Weekly reviewer Ken Tucker reflected on Isn't Anything in 1993, gave the album an A- rating and said the "rafter-shaking guitar chords, the baleful vocals -- attests to their faith in romance, betrayal, and dizzy crushes. They nearly bury their somber melodies beneath surface noise. But unearthing the tunes is part of the listening pleasure."[14] The remasters of Isn't Anything also generated favourable reviews with Taylor Parkes of The Quietus describing the album as "livid, lurid and lucid, it's the shattering racket of the moment, an audio snapshot of the overwhelmed senses, a noise like nothing you've ever heard, but everything you've ever felt"[16] while Uncut '​s Stephen Troussé said "in rock algebra you might deduce that they'd worked out some new equation involving the barbed languor of the Mary Chain, the speedfreak urgency of Sonic Youth, and a dash of The Vaselines' sauce - but none of that accounts for the savagely sensual results."[17]

Isn't Anything has subsequently become regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 1980s. The album has been included in The Guardian '​s list of "1000 Albums to Hear Before You Die"[18] and ranked as number 16 in their "Alternative Top 100 Albums" list.[19] The album was also ranked number 24 in The Irish Times '​ list of "Top 40 Irish Albums Of All Time,"[20] selected by Pitchfork Media staff as number 22 on their "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s" list,[21] and listed at number 92 on Slant Magazine's list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[22] Uncut writer David Stubbs has called Isn't Anything "one of the most important, influential British rock albums of the eighties".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Kevin Shields unless otherwise noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Soft as Snow (But Warm Inside)"   Shields, Colm Ó Cíosóig 2:21
2. "Lose My Breath"   Bilinda Butcher, Shields 3:37
3. "Cupid Come"   Butcher, Shields 4:27
4. "(When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream"   Shields, Ó Cíosóig 3:16
5. "No More Sorry"   Butcher, Shields 2:48
6. "All I Need"     3:04
7. "Feed Me with Your Kiss"     3:54
8. "Sueisfine"   Shields, Ó Cíosóig 2:12
9. "Several Girls Galore"   Butcher, Shields 2:21
10. "You Never Should"     3:21
11. "Nothing Much to Lose"     3:16
12. "I Can See It (But I Can't Feel It)"     3:10
Total length:
37:48

Personnel[edit]

All personnel credits adapted from Isn't Anything '​s liner notes.[24]

My Bloody Valentine
Technical personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
position
UK Independent Chart[25] 1
Chart (2012) Peak
position
Irish Albums Chart[26] 49
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[27] 29
South Korean Albums Chart[28] 70
South Korean International Albums Chart[29] 14
UK Albums Chart[30] 61

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Stubbs, David (1999). "Sweetheart Attack: My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything is the Eighties rock album". Uncut (February 1999). 
  2. ^ a b c d Reynolds, Simon (2008). "It's the Opposite of Rock 'n' Roll". Spin (August 2008): 78–84. 
  3. ^ Blashill, Paul (1989). "My Waking Dream". Spin (May 1989): 12. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  4. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000). Alternative Rock. Miller Freeman. p. 512. ISBN 0-87930-607-6. 
  5. ^ "My Bloody Valentine, Feed Me with Your Kiss". Melody Maker (IPC Media). 28 October 1988. 
  6. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate. p. 884. ISBN 1-84195-335-0. 
  7. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh. Feed Me with Your Kiss [CD Single] - My Bloody Valentine | AllMusic at AllMusic. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  8. ^ "My Bloody Valentine to remaster classic albums | News | NME.COM". NME. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "My Bloody Valentine - New Releases - Friday 4th May | The Official Sony Music Ireland Site". Sony Music Ireland. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Phares, Heather. Isn't Anything - My Bloody Valentine | AllMusic at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  11. ^ a b Anthony Carew. "My Bloody Valentine Isn't Anything - Review of Their Classic 1988 Debut Album". About.com. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "My Bloody Valentine/Vaselines" - http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/expert-witness-blog.aspx". 
  13. ^ Len Lukowska (3 May 2012). "My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything (remastered) / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Drowned in Sound. 
  14. ^ a b Ken Tucker (9 July 1993). "Isn't Anything Review | Music Reviews and News | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Mark Richardson (11 May 2012). "My Bloody Valentine: Isn't Anything / Loveless / EPs 1988-1991 | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Taylor Parkes (10 June 2008). "The Quietus | Reviews | My Bloody Valentine". The Quietus. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Stephen Troussé (2008). "My Bloody Valentine Reissues Special - Isn't Anything/Loveless/The Coral Sea - Uncut.co.uk". Uncut. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  18. ^ "Artists beginning with M (part 3) | Music | guardian.co.uk". The Guardian. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The alternative top 100 from 11-40". The Guardian. 29 January 1999. Retrieved 11 April 2012.  Archived from the original.
  20. ^ Carroll, Jim (2008). "On the Record: The Ticket's Top 40 Irish Albums of All Time". The Irish Times (29 February 2008): 4. 
  21. ^ "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s | Features | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  22. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s | Music | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  23. ^ Instrumental (Media notes). My Bloody Valentine. Creation Records. 1988. CREFRE 4. 
  24. ^ Isn't Anything (CD). My Bloody Valentine. Creation Records. 1988. CRELP 040CD. 
  25. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). Indie Hits: 1980-1989. Cherry Red Books. p. 155. ISBN 0-9517206-9-4. 
  26. ^ "GFK Chart-Track". Irish Recorded Music Association. GFK Chart-Track. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "マイ・ブラッディ・ヴァレンタインのCDアルバムランキング、マイ・ブラッディ・ヴァレンタインのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典" [Oricon Entertainment Encyclopedia – Oricon CD: My Bloody Valentine Album Rankings] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  28. ^ ":: 가온차트와 함께하세요 ::" [Gaon Album Chart: 2012.05.06~2012.05.12] (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 10 July 2013.  N.B. User must select "2012 년" from the right drop-down box, select "2012.05.06~2012.05.12" from the second drop-down box and then select "51–100유" from the bottom of the chart.
  29. ^ ":: 가온차트와 함께하세요 ::" [Gaon International Album Chart: 2012.05.06~2012.05.12] (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 10 July 2013.  N.B. User must select the third tab (쿠위), select "2012 년" from the right drop-down box and then select "2012.05.06~2012.05.12" from the second drop-down box above the chart.
  30. ^ "ChartArchive".