Jump to content

Loveless (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A blurred, magenta close-up photo of someone playing guitar
Studio album by
Released4 November 1991 (1991-11-04)[a]
RecordedFebruary 1989 – September 1991
My Bloody Valentine chronology
EP's 1988–1991
Singles from Loveless
  1. "Only Shallow"
    Released: March 1992

Loveless (stylized in lowercase) is the second studio album by the Irish-English rock band My Bloody Valentine. It was released on 4 November 1991[a] in the United Kingdom by Creation Records and in the United States by Sire Records. The album was recorded between February 1989 and September 1991, with vocalist and guitarist Kevin Shields leading sessions and experimenting with guitar vibrato, nonstandard tunings, digital sampling, and meticulous production methods. The band recorded at nineteen different studios and hired several engineers during the album's prolonged recording, with its final production cost rumoured to have reached £250,000 (equivalent to £480,000 in 2021).

Preceded by the EPs Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991), Loveless reached number 24 on the UK Albums Chart and was widely praised by critics for its sonic innovations and Shields' "virtual reinvention of the guitar".[8] However, after its release, Creation owner Alan McGee dropped the band from the label as he found Shields too difficult to work with, a factor alleged to have contributed to the label's eventual bankruptcy. My Bloody Valentine struggled to record a follow-up to the album and broke up in 1997, making Loveless their last full-length release until their eventual reunited effort m b v in 2013.

Since its release, Loveless has been widely cited by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time, a landmark work of the shoegaze subgenre, and as a significant influence on various subsequent artists. In 2012, it was reissued as a two-CD set, including remastered tracks and a previously unreleased half-inch analogue tape version, and peaked on several international charts. In 2013, Loveless was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[9]



My Bloody Valentine were scheduled to record at Blackwing Studios in Southwark, London for February 1989, and intended to conceptualise a new, more studio-based sound for their second album.[10] Guitarist Kevin Shields said their label Creation Records believed the album could be recorded in five days. According to Shields, "when it became clear that wasn't going to happen, they freaked".[11] After several unproductive months, the band relocated in September to the basement studio The Elephant in Wapping, where they spent eight unproductive weeks. In-house engineer Nick Robbins said Shields made it clear from the outset that Robbins "was just there to press the buttons". Robbins was quickly replaced by Harold Burgon, but according to Shields, Burgon's main contribution was to show the group how to use the in-studio computer.[12] According to Shields, the session tapes were "confiscated" by the studio "three or four times" due to lack of payment.[13]

Burgon and Shields spent three weeks at the Woodcray studio in Berkshire working on the Glider EP, which Shields and Creation owner Alan McGee agreed would be released in advance of the album. Alan Moulder was hired to mix the Glider song "Soon" at Trident 2 studio in Victoria; the song later appeared as the closing track on Loveless. Shields said of Moulder, "As soon as we worked with him we realized we'd love to some more!"[14] When the group returned to work on the album, Moulder was the sole engineer Shields trusted to perform tasks such as micing the amplifiers; all the other credited engineers were told "We're so on top of this you don't even have to come to work."[15] Shields said that "these engineers – with the exception of Alan Moulder and later Anjali Dutt – were all just the people who came with the studio ... everything we wanted to do was wrong, according to them."[16] The band gave credit on the album sleeve to all present during the recordings, "even if all they did was fix tea", according to Shields.[12]

Kevin Shields playing guitar
Kevin Shields performing with My Bloody Valentine in 1989

During the spring of 1990, Anjali Dutt was hired to replace Moulder, who had left to work with the bands Shakespears Sister and Ride. Dutt assisted in the recording of vocals and several guitar tracks.[17] During this period, the band recorded in various studios, often spending a single day at a studio before deciding it was unsuitable. In May 1990, My Bloody Valentine settled on Protocol in Holloway as their primary location, and work began in earnest on the album, as well as a second EP titled Tremolo.[18] Like Glider, Tremolo contained a song – "To Here Knows When" – that later appeared on Loveless. The band stopped recording during the summer of 1990 to tour in support of the release of Glider.[19] When Moulder returned to the project in August, he was surprised by how little work had been completed. By that point, Creation was concerned by how much the album was costing.[20] Moulder left again in March 1991 to work for the Jesus and Mary Chain.[21] In an interview with Select, Shields explained the stop-start nature of his recording, using "When You Sleep" as an example:

We recorded the drums in September '89. The guitar was done in December. The bass was done in April. 1990 we're in, now. Then nothing happens for a year really. So it doesn't have vocals at this stage? No. Does it have words? No. Does it even have a title? No. It has a song number. "Song 12" it was called. And ... I'm trying to remember ... the melody line was done in '91. The vocals were '91. There were huge gaps though. Months and months of not touching songs. Years. I used to forget what tunings I'd used.[22]

The vocals were taped in Britannia Row and Protocol studios between May and June 1991, the first time vocalist Bilinda Butcher was involved in the recording. Shields and Butcher hung curtains on the window between the studio control room and the vocal booth, and communicated with the engineers only when they would acknowledge a good take by opening the curtain and waving. According to engineer Guy Fixsen, "We weren't allowed to listen while either of them were doing a vocal. You'd have to watch the meters on the tape machine to see if anyone was singing. If it stopped, you knew you had to stop the tape and take it back to the top." On most days, the couple arrived without having written the lyrics for the song they were to record. Dutt recalled: "Kevin would sing a track, and then Bilinda would get the tape and write down words she thought he might have sung".[23]

In July 1991, Creation agreed to relocate the production to Eastcote studio, following unexplained complaints from Shields. However, the cash-poor Creation Records was unable to pay the bill for their time at Britannia Row, and the studio refused to return the band's equipment. Dutt recalled, "I don't know what excuse Kevin gave them for leaving. He had to raise the money himself to get the gear out."[24] Shields' unpredictable behavior, the constant delays, and studio changes were having a material effect on Creation's finances and the health of their staff. Dutt later said she had been desperate to leave the project, while Creation's second-in-command Dick Green had a nervous breakdown. Green recalled, "It was two years into the album, and I phoned Shields up in tears. I was going 'You have to deliver me this record.'"[24]

Shields and Butcher became afflicted with tinnitus, and had to delay recording for further weeks while they recovered. Concerned friends and band members suggested this was a result of the unusually loud volumes the group played at their shows, which Shields dismissed as "ill-informed hysteria".[24] Although Alan McGee was still positive about his investment, the 29-year-old Green, who by this time was opening the label's morning post "shaking with fear", became a concern to his co-workers. Publicist Laurence Verfaillie, aware of the label's inability to cover further studio bills, recalled Green's hair turning grey overnight, which she attributed to the album.[24]

With the vocal tracks completed, a final mix of the album was undertaken with engineers Dick Meaney (the Jesus and Mary Chain) and Darren Allison (Spiritualized) at the Church in Crouch End,[25][26] the nineteenth studio in which Loveless had been worked on.[24] The album was edited on an aged machine that had been used to cut together dialog for movies in the 1970s; its computer threw the entire album out of phase. Shields was able to put it back together from memory, but took thirteen days to master the album rather than the usual one, to Creation's dismay.[27]

As the previously prolific band were unusually quiet, the British music press began to speculate. Melody Maker calculated that the total recording cost had come close to £250,000; however, McGee, Green, and Shields dispute this. Shields argued that the estimated cost and Creation's near-bankruptcy were a myth exaggerated by McGee. According to Shields, "the amount we spent nobody knows because we never counted. But we worked it out ourselves just by working out how much the studios cost and how much all the engineers cost. £160,000 was the most we could come to as the actual money that was spent".[28] In Green's opinion, the estimate made by Melody Maker was understated by £20,000, and that "once you'd even got it recorded and mixed, the very act of compiling, EQ-ing, et cetera took weeks on its own".[27] In December 1991, Shields said that most of the money claimed to have been spent on the album was simply "money to live on" over three years, with the album itself costing only "a few thousand". He also claimed that the album represented only four months' work over two years.[29] He said that most of the money spent came from the band's own funds, while "Creation probably spent fifteen to twenty thousand pounds of their own money on it, and that's it. They never showed us any accounts, and then they got bought out by Sony".[30]



While Butcher contributed about a third of its lyrics,[32] most of the music on Loveless was written and performed by Shields; according to Shields, he is the only musician on the album apart from "Touched".[33] Shields assumed Butcher's guitarist duties during the recording process; Butcher said she had not minded because she felt she "was never a great guitarist". Bassist Debbie Googe did not perform on the album, though she received a credit. Googe said, "At the beginning I used to go down [to the studio] most days but after a while I began to feel pretty superfluous so I went down less."[34] Butcher explained, "for Kevin to actually translate to Debbie what he had in his head and play it right would have been an agonizing process."[35] Moulder said "It wasn't collaborative at all ... Kevin had a clear view of what he wanted, but he never explained it."[36]

Most of the album was heavily influenced by Neil Young, though "What You Want" was Shields' homage to the Cure song Just Like Heaven.[37]

Loveless was largely recorded in mono sound,[38] as Shields felt it important that the album's sound consisted of "the guitar smack bang in the middle and no chorus, no modulation effect".[39] Shields wavers his guitar's tremolo bar as he strums, which contributes to the band's distinctive sound.[40] This technique – nicknamed "glide guitar" – bends the guitar strings slightly in and out of tune.[41] Shields said, "People were thinking it's hundreds of guitars, when it's actually got less guitar tracks than most people's demo tapes have."[42] Unlike other bands of the shoegazing movement of the early 1990s, My Bloody Valentine did not use chorus or flanger pedals; Shields said, "No other band played that guitar like me [...] We did everything solely with the tremolo arm."[43]

Shields aimed to use "very simple minimal effects", which often were the result of involved studio work. He stated, "The songs are really simply structured. A lot of them are purposely like that. That way you can get away with a lot more when you mess around with the contents."[29] In a 1992 Guitar World interview, Shields described how he achieved a sound akin to a wah-wah pedal on "I Only Said" by playing his guitar through an amplifier with a graphic equaliser preamp. After recording the track, he bounced it to another track through a parametric equaliser while he adjusted the EQ levels manually. Asked if he could have achieved the effect more easily using a wah-wah pedal, Shields said, "In attitude toward sound, yes. But not in approach."[31]

All but two of the drum tracks were built from samples of tracks performed by drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig. Because Ó Cíosóig was suffering from physical ailments during the recording, he recorded samples of various drum patterns he was able to perform.[44] According to Shields, "[i]t's exactly what Colm would have done, it just took longer to do."[45] Ó Cíosóig recovered enough to actively participate in the recording of three songs: "Touched" (which was composed and programmed entirely by him), and recording live drums on "Only Shallow" and "Come in Alone."[46] Shields believes that listeners are unable to tell the difference between Ó Cíosóig's live drumming and the drum loops aside from the tracks intended to have an obviously "sampled" sound, such as the dance-oriented "Soon".[35] The album makes extensive use of samples; according to Shields, "Most of the samples are feedback. We learnt from guitar feedback, with lots of distortion, that you can make any instrument, any one that you can imagine."[29] In an interview with Sound on Sound, Shields said his approach to drum sampling was informed, in part, by hip hop artists like The Bomb Squad and their production for Public Enemy. "I was hearing really cool music made by hip-hop groups that were sampling stuff... [T]he whole thing about sampling back in those days is that people really started to mess with the key... I was hearing a lot of music that you just didn’t really know what was creating that sound."[47]

The vocals, equally provided by Shields and Butcher, are kept relatively low in the mix. They are for the most part highly pitched,[48] although at times Shields sang the higher register and Butcher the lower.[49] According to Shields, because the band had spent so long working on the album's vocals, he "couldn't tolerate really clear vocals, where you just hear one voice", thus "it had to be more like a sound."[50] Butcher said of her "dreamy, sensual" style vocals: "Often when we do vocals, it's 7:30 in the morning; I've usually just fallen asleep and have to be woken up to sing."[41] To aid this effect, Shields and Ó Cíosóig sampled Butcher's voice and reused it as instrumentation.[51] The layered vocals on "When You Sleep" were born out of frustration with trying to get the right take. Shields commented that "The vocals sound like that because it became boring and too destructive trying to get the right vocal. So I decided to put all the vocals in. (It had been sung 12 or 13 times)."[29] He explained:

On "When You Sleep" it sounds like me and Bilinda singing together, but it's just me – me slowed down and me speeded up at the same time. Some songs we sang over and over until we got bored – usually between 12 and 18 times. I started sorting through the tapes and it did my head in, so I just played them all together and it was really good – like one, vaguely distinct voice.[52]

The lyrics are deliberately obscure; Shields joked that he considered rating various attempts to decipher the words on the band's website according to accuracy.[53] He claims that he and Butcher "spent way more time on the lyrics than ever on the music". The words were often written in late-night eight- to ten-hour-long sessions before the pair were due to record the vocals. They worked diligently to ensure the lyrics were not lacklustre, but made few changes; Shields said, "There's nothing worse than bad lyrics."[54] Nonetheless, pressed by Select's David Cavanagh to reveal just the first line of "Loomer", Butcher refused, and Shields claimed to have "absolutely no idea" what she was singing.[55]



After the album's release, My Bloody Valentine toured Europe, an event music critic David Cavanagh described as a "unique chapter in live music".[56] To recreate the higher tones from Loveless, Shields employed American flautist Anna Quimby. According to a friend of the band, "She had a little skirt on, black tights ... she was a little indie girl. But when she blew into the flute, it was like fucking Woodstock."[57]

The tour became infamous for its volume. NME editor Danny Kelly attended a show he described as "more like torture than entertainment ... I had a half pint of lager; they hit their first note and it was so loud that it sent the glass hurtling".[57] During the following US tour, Shields and Butcher tested their audiences' ability to sustain noise played at high volumes. According to critic Mark Kemp; "After about thirty seconds the adrenaline set in, people are screaming and shaking their fists. After a minute you wonder what's going on. After another minute it's total confusion. The noise starts hurting. The noise continues. After three minutes you begin to take deep breaths. After four minutes, a calm takes over."[57] The tour saw My Bloody Valentine accused of criminal negligence by the music press, who took exception to the long period of extreme white noise played during "You Made Me Realise". In December 2000, Mojo rated the tour the second loudest in history.[58]



Despite expectations for the band to break through in the wake of the critical success of Loveless,[59] they fell apart soon after and recorded only sporadically in the following two decades. Unable to deliver a third album, Shields isolated himself and "went crazy," drawing comparisons in the music press to the behavior of musicians such as Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd.[60] The other band members went their own ways; Butcher contributed vocals to Collapsed Lung's 1996 single "Board Game"[61] and two tracks ("Ballad Night" and "Casino Kisschase") from the band's 1996 album Cooler.[62] Googe was sighted working as a cab driver in London[63] and formed the supergroup Snowpony in 1996.[64] Ó Cíosóig joined Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions,[65] while Shields collaborated with Yo La Tengo, Primal Scream and Dinosaur Jr.[66]

Shields recorded new music in his home studio, but abandoned it.[59] According to sources, some of the music was possibly influenced by jungle music.[63] Shields said, "We did an album's worth of half-finished stuff, and it did just get dumped, but it was worth dumping. It was dead. It hadn't got that spirit, that life in it."[67] He said later, "I just stopped making records myself, and I suppose that must just seem weird to people. 'Why'd you do that?' The answer is, it wasn't as good [as Loveless]. And I always promised myself I'd never do that, put out a worse record."[68] He told Magnet of his certainty in recording another My Bloody Valentine album, and attributed the sparse output to a lack of inspiration.[69] A third My Bloody Valentine album, m b v, was finally released in 2013, 22 years after Loveless.[70]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyA[71]
Rolling Stone[75]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[76]
The Village VoiceA−[78]

Although Shields feared a critical panning,[79] Loveless received critical acclaim.[80] "An album without parallel", wrote Andrew Perry in Select. "Its creative inspiration defies belief. Though 'To Here Knows When' is pretty well the weirdest track of the eleven, that glorious distortion gives a fair signal of what to expect – the unexpected. Everything you hear confounds your idea of how a pop song should be played, arranged and produced."[77] Martin Aston in Q wrote that "The instrumental 'Touched' is especially startling, like a drunken fight between a syrupy Disney soundtrack and an Eastern mantra. All in all, Loveless amounts to a virtual reinvention of the guitar."[8]

NME reviewer Dele Fadele saw My Bloody Valentine as the "blueprint" for the shoegaze genre, and wrote: "with Loveless you could've expected the Irish / English partnership to succumb to self-parody or mimic The Scene That's Delighted To Eat Quiche [...] But no, Loveless fires a silver-coated bullet into the future, daring all-comers to try and recreate its mixture of moods, feelings, emotion, styles and, yes, innovations." While Fadele expressed some disappointment that the group seemed to disassociate themselves from dance music and reggae basslines, he concluded: "Loveless ups the ante, and, however decadent one might find the idea of elevating other human beings to deities, My Bloody Valentine, failings and all, deserve more than your respect."[73] Melody Maker writer Simon Reynolds praised the album, and wrote that Loveless "[reaffirms] how unique, how peerless MBV are." He wrote, "Along with Mercury Rev's Yerself is Steam, 'Loveless' is the outermost, innermost, uttermost rock record of 1991." Reynolds noted that his only criticism was that "while My Bloody Valentine have amplified and refined what they already were, they've failed to mutate or leap into any kind of beyond."[81]

In a review for Rolling Stone, Ira Robbins wrote that "despite the record's intense ability to disorient – this is real do-not-adjust-your-set stuff – the effect is strangely uplifting. Loveless oozes a sonic balm that first embraces and then softly pulverizes the frantic stress of life."[75] Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot wrote that the band had "written a new vocabulary for the guitar, and perhaps given it another 10 years of life as rock's central instrument".[82] Spin gave Loveless a mixed review; writer Jim Greer felt it was "standard-ish and dull ... The warped music is a cool idea and I recommend the album – but not on the basis of the singing or the songs."[83]

While Creation were pleased with the final album, and the initial music press reviews were positive, the label soon realised that although, in the words of plugger James Kyllo, "it was such a beautiful record, and it was wonderful to have it ... it just didn't sound like a record that was going to recoup all the money that had been spent on it."[84] Alan McGee liked the record, but said, "It was quite clear that we couldn't bear the idea of going through that again, because there was just nothing to say that [Shields] wouldn't do exactly the same again. That's enough. Lets step back".[84] Despite a severe shortage of money, Creation funded a short tour of the north of England late in 1991. At the time the band were making the marketing of Loveless difficult – there would be no singles, and the band's name was forbidden to appear on the record sleeve. McGee was by now exhausted and frustrated. He recalled, "I thought: I went to the wall for you. If this record bombs, I've stolen my father's money. And they were so ... not understanding of anybody else's position."[56] Alan McGee dropped My Bloody Valentine from Creation soon after the album's release because he could not bear working with Shields again; "It was either him or me," he told The Guardian in 2004.[60] Loveless peaked at number 24 on the UK Albums Chart, and failed to chart in the United States, where it was distributed by Sire Records.[80] In 2003, Rolling Stone estimated that Loveless had sold 225,000 copies.[85]



Loveless has been a consistent critical favourite. It came in at number 14 in the 1991 Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[86] In 1999, Pitchfork named Loveless the best album of the 1990s.[87] However, in its 2003 revision of the list, the album was moved to number two, swapping places with Radiohead's OK Computer.[88] A 2022 listing restored it to the top spot.[89] Pitchfork also named Loveless the greatest shoegaze album of all time.[90] In 2000, the album was voted number 63 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[91] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 219 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time,[85] 221 in a 2012 revised list[92] and 73 in another revised list published in 2020.[93] In 2004, The Observer ranked it at number 20 in its "100 Greatest British Albums" list, declaring it "the last great extreme rock album."[94]

The album was ranked at number 22 on Spin's list of "100 Greatest Albums 1985–2005," with Chuck Klosterman writing that "whenever anyone uses the phrase swirling guitars, this record is why. A testament to studio production and single-minded perfectionism, Loveless has a layered, inverted thickness that makes harsh sounds soft and fragile moments vast."[36] In 2008, Loveless topped The Irish Times' "Top 40 Irish Albums of All Time" critics' list,[95] and in 2013, it placed third in the Irish Independent's "Top 30 Irish Albums of All Time" list.[96] In 2014, it placed ninth on the Alternative Nation site's "Top 10 Underrated 90's Alternative Rock Albums" list.[97] In 2013, NME ranked the album at number 18 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.[98] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[99] In 2020, Paste named it the eighth-best album of the 1990s and the second-best dream pop album of all time.[100][101]

Accolades for Loveless
Publication Accolade Rank
Irish Independent Top 30 Irish Albums of All Time[96] 3
The Irish Times Top 40 Irish Albums of All Time[95] 1
NME 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[98] 18
Paste The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s[101] 8
Paste The 25 Best Dream Pop Albums of All Time[100] 2
Pitchfork 100 Greatest Albums of the 1990s (1999)[87] 1
Pitchfork 100 Greatest Albums of the 1990s (2003)[88] 2
Pitchfork 150 Greatest Albums of the 1990s[89] 1
Pitchfork The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time[90] 1
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003)[85] 219
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2012)[92] 221
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2020)[93] 73
Spin 100 Greatest Albums 1985–2005[36] 22



Loveless has been influential on a large number of genres and artists. Clash called the album "the magnum opus of the shoegazing genre ... it raised the bar so high that it subsequently collapsed under its own weight," leading to the dissipation of the style.[102] Critic Jim DeRogatis wrote that "the forward-looking sounds of this unique disc have positioned the band as one of the most influential and inspiring bands since the Velvet Underground."[103] Authors Paul Hegarty and Martin Halliwell wrote that the album "might be so progressive that nothing else will ever match it."[104] Metro Times called the album "the high-water mark of shoegaze," writing that its "dense production and hypnotic atmosphere drugged listeners with its sound's lovely oxymoron: at once hard and soft, up-tempo and languid, lascivious and frigid."[105] Paul Lester of The Guardian called it "the Pet Sounds of UK avant-rock."[5]

Musician Brian Eno said that "Soon" "set a new standard for pop. It's the vaguest music ever to have been a hit."[106] Robert Smith of the Cure discovered Loveless after a period of almost exclusively listening to disco and/or Irish bands such as the Dubliners as a means of avoiding his contemporaries and said, "[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."[107] Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins told Spin: "It's rare in guitar-based music that somebody does something new [...] At the time, everybody was like, 'How the fuck are they doing this?' And, of course, it's way simpler than anybody would imagine."[36][b] Greg Puciato of the Dillinger Escape Plan named Loveless one of the albums that changed his life, recalling: "When I was younger, I only listened to riffs and vocals and a more traditional style of composition. So when I heard this My Bloody Valentine record it was so abstract and strange in artistic terms that it ended up taking me on other musical paths."[110]

The band Japancakes recorded a cover album of "Loveless" which includes every song from the original in the same sequence. The cover album was released on Darla Records in 2007.[111]

In 2013 Kenny Feinstein of the bluegrass band Water Tower released a solo cover album of Loveless entitled Loveless: Hurts to Love (Fluff & Gravy).[112] The album is mostly acoustic and features a wide assortment of instruments including guitar, piano, mandolin, violin, bass, cello, harmonium, and dobro.[113] Feinstein plays most of the instruments on the album himself and provides lead vocals. Also appearing on the album are musician Jeff Kazor of The Crooked Jades and engineer Bruce Kaphan who helped Feinstein create an "acoustic wall of sound" that emulates the original album's distorted layers.[114]

Track listing


All tracks are written by Kevin Shields, except where noted

Loveless track listing
No.TitleLyricsMusicLead vocalsLength
1."Only Shallow"Bilinda ButcherShieldsButcher4:17
3."Touched" (instrumental) Colm Ó Cíosóig 0:56
4."To Here Knows When"
  • Butcher
  • Shields
5."When You Sleep"  Shields4:11
6."I Only Said"  Shields5:34
7."Come in Alone"  Shields3:58
8."Sometimes"  Shields5:19
9."Blown a Wish"ButcherShieldsButcher3:36
10."What You Want"  Shields5:33
11."Soon"  Shields6:58
Total length:48:31


  • On some releases, every song is stylized in all lowercase letters. For example, "When You Sleep" is stylized as "when you sleep". Other releases have the songs stylized with normal capitalization.



All personnel credits adapted from Loveless's liner notes.[115]

My Bloody Valentine

Production and mixing

  • Kevin Shields (except on "Touched")
  • Colm Ó Cíosóig (on "Touched")

Artwork and release

  • My Bloody Valentine – cover concept
  • Angus Cameron – photography
  • Ann Marie Shields – coordination


1991 chart performance for Loveless
Chart (1991) Peak
European Albums (Music & Media)[116] 47
UK Albums (OCC)[117] 24
2012 chart performance for Loveless
Chart (2012) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[118] 154
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[119] 188
Irish Albums (IRMA)[120] 29
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[121] 18
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[122] 43
South Korean International Albums (Gaon)[123] 7
2021 chart performance for Loveless
Chart (2021) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[124] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[125] 26
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[126] 23
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[127] 5
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[128] 13
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[129] 28
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[130] 23
Irish Albums (OCC)[131] 6
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[132] 7
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[133] 14
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[134] 53
UK Albums (OCC)[135] 7
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[136] 2


Certifications for Loveless
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[137] Gold 100,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Although Melody Maker states that the album was released on 11 November, as well as the UK Official Charts recording that it entered the top 40 after its first week of release w/c 17 November, there is a clear consensus in reputable magazines, and it is declared by the band themselves and Creation Records, that the album was released on 4 November.[7]
  2. ^ Corgan later recruited Alan Moulder to coproduce the Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995). Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who praised the album's diversity and production,[108] also worked with Moulder on his The Fragile.[109]




  1. ^ The following sources have described Loveless as shoegaze:
    • "The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time". Pitchfork. p. 5. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
    • Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "My Bloody Valentine Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
    • Fadele, Dele (9 November 1991). "Bloody Awe-Full!". NME. p. 32. Archived from the original on 10 March 2000. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
    • McCabe, Brian. "Songs for the loveless". Metro Times. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  2. ^ The following sources have described Loveless as dream pop:
  3. ^ Vaziri, Aidin; Lassner, Bryan (1998). "My Bloody Valentine". In Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds.). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. p. 797.
  4. ^ Kot, Greg. "My Bloody Valentine at the Aragon review". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b Lester, Paul (12 March 2004). "I lost it". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 December 2020. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
  6. ^ Reilly, Nick (31 March 2021). "My Bloody Valentine sign with Domino Records and release back catalogue on streaming services". NME. Archived from the original on 31 March 2021. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  7. ^ Creation Records: My Bloody Valentine: Media:
  8. ^ a b c Aston, Martin (January 1992). "Warped". Q. No. 64. p. 71.
  9. ^ Sager, Brooke (20 June 2020). "100 Best Albums of the '90s". Chron. Archived from the original on 24 July 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  10. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 42
  11. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 41
  12. ^ a b McGonigal 2007, p. 43
  13. ^ Grow, Kory (15 November 2017). "My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields on the Agony and Ecstasy of 'Loveless'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 April 2023. Retrieved 3 December 2023. 'We were at the first studio for two months, and the tapes were confiscated during the process of recording Loveless three or four times, and back in those days it was quite stressful because there's no backups,' [Shields] says. '(...) just because there was no money around to pay the bill.'
  14. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 45
  15. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 46
  16. ^ McGonigal 2007, pp. 43–44
  17. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 48
  18. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 59
  19. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 47
  20. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 60
  21. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 61
  22. ^ Cavanagh, David: Select, February 1992
  23. ^ Cavanagh 2000, p. 359
  24. ^ a b c d e Cavanagh 2000, p. 360
  25. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 62
  26. ^ Doyle, Tom (May 2018). "Classic Tracks – Loveless". Sound on Sound. Vol. 33, no. 7. p. 120.
  27. ^ a b Cavanagh 2000, p. 361
  28. ^ McGonigal 2007, pp. 66–67
  29. ^ a b c d Gabriel, Clive (December 1991). "My Bloody Valentine". Lime Lizard.
  30. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 67
  31. ^ a b di Perna, Alan (March 1992). "Bloody Guy". Guitar World.
  32. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 78
  33. ^ McGonigal 2007, pp. 50–51
  34. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 51
  35. ^ a b McGonigal 2007, p. 73
  36. ^ a b c d Klosterman, Chuck (July 2005). "My Bloody Valentine – 'Loveless'". Spin.
  37. ^ Petridis, Alex (27 May 2021). "My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields: 'We wanted to sound like a band killing their songs'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 July 2023. Retrieved 3 December 2023. At one point, he reels off a string of songs from Loveless – an album frequently heralded as utterly without precedent – and cheerfully tells me from whom they were ripped off. Neil Young, mostly, although What You Want is apparently a homage to the Cure's Just Like Heaven.
  38. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 39
  39. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 50
  40. ^ DeRogatis 2003, p. 488
  41. ^ a b DeRogatis, Jim (2 December 2001). "A love letter to guitar-based rock music". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 6 March 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  42. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 36
  43. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 32
  44. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 72
  45. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 70
  46. ^ "My Bloody Valentine: Song-by-song with Kevin Shields". Tape Op. No. 26.
  47. ^ Doyle, Tom. "Classic Tracks: My Bloody Valentine 'Only Shallow'". soundonsound.com. Sound on Sound. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  48. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 75
  49. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 89
  50. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 76
  51. ^ Kemp, Mark (1992). "The Beauty In The Beast". Options Magazine. [Butcher's is] a soft, airy voice which acts as the wind in the Valentines' turbulent tunnel. Shields and Ó Cíosóig even sample her voice so they can regurgitate it digitally as the sound of a flute or other woodwind instruments. 'It gives it the texture of a human voice,' Shields says, 'but doesn't sound particularly human.'
  52. ^ Select, January 1992 – from a piece accompanying the album's placing at #6 in the magazine's list of the best albums of 1991
  53. ^ McGonigal 2007, p. 77
  54. ^ McGonigal 2007, pp. 78–79
  55. ^ Select, February 1992.
  56. ^ a b Cavanagh 2000, p. 369
  57. ^ a b c Cavanagh 2000, p. 370
  58. ^ various, ed. Trynka, Paul. "The Grateful Deaf". Mojo. December 2000.
  59. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "My Bloody Valentine Biography". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  60. ^ a b Lester, Paul (12 March 2004). "I lost it". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  61. ^ Collapsed Lung, Bilinda Butcher vocals (16 September 1996). Board Game (compact disc). Deceptive Records, London Records. BLUFF 034 CD.
  62. ^ "Collapsed Lung – Cooler". Discogs. 2 October 1996. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  63. ^ a b DeRogatis 2003, p. 491
  64. ^ "My Bloody Valentine Exclusive Interview". Creation Records. 24 August 2007. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007.
  65. ^ Rondeau, Bernardo (29 January 2003). "My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  66. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Loveless – My Bloody Valentine". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  67. ^ Raggett, Ned. "My Bloody Valentine – interview with KUCI". KUCI. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  68. ^ Dansby, Andrew (24 September 2003). "Kevin Shields Found on "Lost"". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  69. ^ "My Bloody Valentine set to record again". NME. 15 January 2007. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  70. ^ Vincent, Alice (4 February 2013). "My Bloody Valentine release surprise album after 22 years and stream on YouTube". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  71. ^ DiMartino, Dave (21 February 1992). "Loveless". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  72. ^ Eccleston, Danny (August 2008). "Crown of Creation". Mojo. No. 177. p. 118.
  73. ^ a b Fadele, Dele (9 November 1991). "Bloody Awe-Full!". NME. p. 32. Archived from the original on 10 March 2000. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  74. ^ Richardson, Mark (11 May 2012). "My Bloody Valentine: Isn't Anything / Loveless / EPs 1988–1991". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  75. ^ a b Robbins, Ira (5 March 1992). "Loveless". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  76. ^ Sisario, Ben (2004). "My Bloody Valentine". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 566. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  77. ^ a b Perry, Andrew (December 1991). "My Bloody Valentine: Loveless". Select. No. 18. p. 73.
  78. ^ Christgau, Robert (3 March 1992). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  79. ^ The Stud Brothers (November 1991). "My Bloody Valentine: The Class of '91". Melody Maker. 'I think we're gonna get a panning,' he says. 'In a weird way, even though we haven't done an album for three years, we've been overexposed. I mean, a couple of months ago you couldn't read a review without seeing our name mentioned. It was ridiculous. It was like, 'Oh my God, there's gonna be a definite backlash. People are gonna hate us just because our name's mentioned so much.'
  80. ^ a b McGonigal 2007, p. 97
  81. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2 November 1991). "Valentine Daze". Melody Maker.
  82. ^ Kot, Greg (12 December 1991). "My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (Sire)". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  83. ^ Greer, Jim (December 1991). "Loveless". Spin.
  84. ^ a b Cavanagh 2000, p. 368
  85. ^ a b c "500 Albums: 219. Loveless". Rolling Stone. 1 November 2003. Archived from the original on 6 November 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  86. ^ "The 1991 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 3 March 1992. Archived from the original on 4 August 2022. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
  87. ^ a b DiCrescenzo, Brent. "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s: 'Loveless'". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 14 September 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2007.
  88. ^ a b Richardson, Mark (17 November 2003). "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s: 'Loveless'". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 22 June 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2007.
  89. ^ a b "The 150 Best Albums of the 1990s". Pitchfork Media. 28 September 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  90. ^ a b "The 50 Best Shoegaze Albums of All Time". Pitchfork. p. 5. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  91. ^ Larkin, Colin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 65. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  92. ^ a b "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Rolling Stone's definitive list". Rolling Stone. 2012. Archived from the original on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  93. ^ a b "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 22 September 2020. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  94. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (20 June 2004). "OMM: The 100 Greatest British Albums: 20. 'Loveless' My Bloody Valentine". The Observer. Archived from the original on 2 October 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2007.
  95. ^ a b "The Top 40 Irish Albums". The Irish Times. 2 February 2009. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  96. ^ a b Meagher, John (19 April 2013). "Day & Night: The Top 30 Irish Albums of All Time". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  97. ^ Prato, Greg (2 October 2014). "Top 10 Underrated 90's Alternative Rock Albums". AlternativeNation.net. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  98. ^ a b "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time". NME. October 2013. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2014 – via rocklistmusic.
  99. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  100. ^ a b "The 25 Best Dream Pop Albums of All Time". pastemagazine.com. 21 August 2020. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  101. ^ a b "The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s". pastemagazine.com. 27 January 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
  102. ^ Welsh, April (4 November 2011). "Classic Albums: My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Clash Music. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  103. ^ DeRogatis 2003, p. 492
  104. ^ Hegarty & Halliwell 2011, p. 225.
  105. ^ McCabe, Brian. "Songs for the loveless". Metro Times. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  106. ^ "Symphonic Chaos". Melody Maker. December 1990. And it won them acclaim from Brian Eno, who, in a lecture at New York's Museum Of Modern Art, described it as 'the vaguest piece of music ever to get into the charts'. If Steve Reich or Glenn Branca had been responsible for it, he continued, they would have been given an award by the classical music establishment.
  107. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (30 May 2003). "Timeless tunesmith". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
  108. ^ Murphy, Peter (May 2004). "Lost In Transmutation". Hot Press.
  109. ^ Jorgl, Stephanie. "Alan Moulder: Self-taught Audio Kingpin". Audiohead.net. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  110. ^ Mazetto, Luiz (22 November 2016). "O Dillinger Escape Plan decidiu encerrar a carreira do melhor jeito possível". Noisey (in Portuguese). Vice. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  111. ^ Murray, Noel. "Japancakes: Loveless Archived 2 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine". The A.V. Club, 12 December 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2021
  112. ^ Winograd, Jeremy (4 November 2021). "No Love Lost: My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless' at 30". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  113. ^ "Album Review: Kenny Feinstein". Willamette Week. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  114. ^ Berry, Dave (27 October 2022). "California Report: Kenny Feinstein of Water Tower Band". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  115. ^ Loveless (CD). My Bloody Valentine. Sony Music Entertainment. 1988. LC 12723.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  116. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 48. 30 November 1991. p. 23. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  117. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  118. ^ "Ultratop.be – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  119. ^ "Ultratop.be – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  120. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography My Bloody Valentine". Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  121. ^ マイ・ブラッディ・ヴァレンタインのアルバム売り上げランキング [My Bloody Valentine album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on 11 October 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  122. ^ "2012년 20주차 Album Chart". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  123. ^ "2012년 20주차 Album Chart (International)". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  124. ^ "Australiancharts.com – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  125. ^ "Ultratop.be – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  126. ^ "Ultratop.be – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  127. ^ "Danishcharts.dk – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  128. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  129. ^ "My Bloody Valentine: Loveless" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  130. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  131. ^ "Official Irish Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  132. ^ "Charts.nz – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  133. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  134. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  135. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  136. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  137. ^ "British album certifications – My Bloody Valentine – Loveless". British Phonographic Industry. 21 May 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.