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Loveless (33⅓ #36)

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  632 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
"Loveless" remains an enigma, 15 years after its release - an album so influential and groundbreaking that its chief creator, Kevin Shields, has been unable or unwilling to release an official follow-up. In his book, Mike McGonigal talks to all the members of My Bloody Valentine, and discovers a whole host of remarkable things: that the well-known story about this album ba ...more
Published January 10th 2007 by Continuum (first published October 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
This album is like being dragged between three giant blue icebergs and having them smash slowly together and then drag you down into the freezing ocean and you drown. Or some such gushing prose. It's great. It's so loud that even when you play it quiet it's loud. It's got a vocalist but that's like having a refereee in a viking raid, superfluous to requirements. It's got a drummer too but he's mixed so far down he may as well have not turned up and just played in his bedroom at home. So this alb ...more
Jan 14, 2010 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was leaning towards 3 stars just because I love this album so much, but honestly it really was just okay.

The writing is absolutely terrible and the editing/fact checking seems pretty non-existent. The author inserts his personality pretty heavily at the beginning and he seems like kind of a douche. While doing a track by track rundown of loveless he describes one song as "the most futuristic" and another as "the most from the future". So I guess if these two statements don't mean the same thi
Ettore Pasquini
Jul 25, 2012 Ettore Pasquini rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I had unjustified expectations from this book, and it didn't take long to realize how misplaced they were.

I'll start with the horrible. What annoyed me the most is how amateurishly it is written and how the author repeatedly inserts himself in the narrative. I mean, what the fuck: it is so pathetic, man. How one would do that and not see it is completely beyond me. I get it that he loves the album and the band. I get it that he loves its members, especially -- as I am duly informed -- the female
Feb 09, 2012 Glynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of the 33 1/3 series I ever picked up and, being a fan of Loveless, I was excited about it. But right from the first page, it struck me as that all too common variety of music writing that focusses far more on the author than it does on the subject.

An awful lot of reviewers, here and elsewhere, have griped about the same thing and, in a way, I feel a little bad for adding to it. I think the author made a perfectly well intentioned attempt to give the book some life by rel
Sep 24, 2007 Kent rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: loveless nerds
The 33 1/3 book series was initially appealing to me in its selection of albums, pocket size and snappy cover design, but judging by this one and the Pet Sounds one (which I set aside in disgust) I think these books are pretty lame.

Here's a quote: "(I know I keep inserting myself into the narrative here, but I hope I'm not painting myself as some great close friend with insider knowledge. Yeah, they almost gave me a song for free once, and we had a few pals in common, whoop dee doo. Besides, th
Jul 27, 2010 Balloony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Balloony by: no one
This writer is completely self opinionated but at the same time fails to give valid or any reason for his views. If it makes you feel better to be patronised about the music you like rather than be informed, this is for you.

I found this book to be completely full of false and weak points that really point to the writer attempting to influence the reader rather than inform. Just as one example, at one point he refers to the former Creation releases by The Legend and Les Zarjaz as being 'dreadful'
Feb 26, 2008 will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the story behind this record is fascinating, and if you enjoy listening to this record as much as i do, then i think it's (ultimately) worth the read.

i can't say either way if this book does mroe to dispel the myths and legnds behind the recording of 'loveless' or if it adds to the lore, but when mcgonigal isn't going out of his way to let everyone know how in he is/was with the paleo-indie rock elite, he reveals some very interesting aspects of a landmark album.

overall, i'd say this book is i
Arf Ortiyef
really didn't like the author's style or opinions. it did have some good information but it was mostly a mess. annoyingly, the last chapter was about a completely different album by a different artist.
Wes Benchoff
Good interviews but the author himself fanboys just a weeeeee bit too much. Still informative and solid book would recommend to fans.
Dec 21, 2016 Dkaufman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So interesting, so fun...if you love this album, it is a must-read
Patrick McCoy
Sep 28, 2011 Patrick McCoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Loveless recorded by My Bloody Valentine and written by Mike McGonigal was an entertaining read. It was another good discussion of a classic album, one, that I have to admit, I didn’t know until many years after it was released. I was aware of the whole shoe gazer scene going on in college, but finances were tight so I wasn't venturing out to buy just anything, so I never go the album, but I remember there was a lot of buzz about this album when it came out in 1991. I guess I finally decided to ...more
Dusty Henry
It was a trip reading this book after we finally saw Loveless' follow up last month. Mike McGonigal gets some great details into the record here. He relies heavily on long quotes from Kevin Shields that sometimes take up whole pages of the book (which I guess isn't saying much with the page sizes of the 33 1/3 collection). Hearing Shields talk about his guitar method was inspiring. I wasn't aware of any of the relationship drama going on during production, so that adds another level of depth. Al ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Kesler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
About a week before "mbv" came out, I checked this book out from my university's library. "Loveless" is one of my favorite albums so I was interested to learn more about it.

In that sense, Mike McGonigal's half-review half-oral-history of "Loveless" is kind of disappointing. Half of the book consists of background information on Creation Records and the band whereas the most interesting part (the three year recording cycle for "Loveless") is somewhat glossed over. I mean, I still learned a littl
Mar 09, 2008 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While passing by Baily/Coy books on Broadway a few weeks ago (six) I spotted their reader board which often has a line from a book. If you can guess which book the line is from you get 20% off a new purchase. On this particular day, wouldn't you know that it was a line from a book I've read ( the wind-up bird chronicle). I rushed in, whispered the answer (though I later found out I didn't have to) and immediately began browsing for a book to which my newly earned discount would apply. Well, I go ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Larkspur rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, music
For the most part, this is an easy-to-read background for the creation of Loveless. It's not super detailed, but it should satisfy any non-techies looking for a quick overview (that's more in-depth than Wikipedia, and not one of P4k's ruminations).

Other reviewers are right about McGonigal - a lot of his self-inserts really get annoying, and some of his speculation is a little pointless ("here is a list of albums that might have influenced Loveless. None of the band have confirmed this, but it wa
Aug 18, 2016 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only things that are said about Loveless is that:

1) It took ages for Kevin Shields to record
2) He camped in the studio
3) The album bankrupted the band's label Creation and all the cash was recouped with Oasis' What's the Story (Morning Glory)

Luckily Mike McGonigal is the right person to tackle this album. Not only does he interview Shields for the real story but he sheds some light on how the album was really recorded and what this record means to him.

The only MBV thing you should read.
Matt Harris
Apr 17, 2008 Matt Harris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bliss mongers
Well the album is all floaty and marvellous and the book is kind of a fan trip on the album and a bit all over the shop and the Kevin Shields comments about the mixers on the album doing next to nothing are quite funny and I thought perhaps that there would be more depth to the analysis of the music and sounds and influences instead of the authors' top ten list of music which could have inspired the record (though it was a nice High Fidelity idea) but for me it slightly cheapened the record whic ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was surprisingly informative and entertaining. The nerdy and egotistical first-person narrative made the book very amusing. For example, the way the narrator frequently brags about being friends with the band members gives it a funny and personal touch. Stories about the band talking about their relationships to each other, recording snafus, pet hoarding, and the author chatting with hipster strippers in Portland about Loveless make this little book a gem.
Nov 30, 2016 Will. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How many names and purposefully obscure to all but author tropes can you drop per line? Scene that celebrates himself? Best cribbed critique: 'Write a poem about a fleeting emotion unique to you, using a complex and private system of symbols that no one else can possibly understand but you.'

Didn't make it past page 5. I spent 89-91 deep into the scene, Jericho Tavern, Oxford was my local, and anyone who actually went to gigs can provide factual, cognizant and coherent narratives.
Offers fresh insight into the mystery surrounding the making of perhaps the greatest indie album of all time. Contradicts much of what David Cavanagh says in his book My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize and largely sticks two fingers up to Alan McGee which is refreshing if a little sacrilegious!
Aug 04, 2007 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
together with the tape op interview of kevin shields gives a lot of insight into the wacky and not necessarily grounded in reality guitar recording techniques of my bloody valentine. also who knew that loveless was about love falling apart (note sarcasm: sound alchemy plus intense emotional backdrop make for great albums)...use reverse reverb with reverence
This would have been a lot better if the author didn't feel the need to insert his off the topic whims and fancies throughout the book. I don't really care to read about him not wanting to go down the slippery slope of spelling things Anglophone. Those parts of the book just felt contrived. However, when it was just focused on the music, it wasn't that bad.
Mar 02, 2013 Glenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
As one who arrived a bit late to the MBV party (thanks for the invite, Lauren), I enjoyed this quick history of the band, label, and ordeal of the making of Loveless. It's a short read by an unabashed fan, so don't look for objectivity, just ride on his buzz. He interviewed all four Valentines in 2005/6, so it's not all opinion.
The chapters involving specific conversations with Kevin Shields are definitely amazing.. Especially with all of the overwhelming mystique around the album. Unfortunately the author attempts to interject personal musings and weak stabs at his own stamp of personality with 'top 10' lists, etc. Ironically, a real author probably wouldn't have been able to get as candid of interviews with Shields.
Andrew F
LOVELESS is one of my favourite albums and this book did a great job exploring the history of the band up to that point, the discovery of the guitar and recording techniques that make it what it is, and the charming half-squat, half-love-in situation of the band.

I never did buy the 33 1/3 book of Paul's Boutique or Raw Power, I need to get round to that sometime.
Andrew P
I've heard mixed reviews of this series of books. This is the first one I've read. If all the other books are like this, then the series is good, because it is what I expected: an in-depth look at the recording process, the structure and feelings brought from the songs on the record, extensive interviews with band members, and back story on the myths and truths behind the album.
Apr 23, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second of this series for me, Loveless set the bar pretty high for future 33 1/3 books. The author does an excellent job mixing journalistic reportage with personal anecdotes in a style that is 100% conversational - like your best pal telling you everything they know about their favorite album of all time. Essential reading for would-be music writers.

Sep 03, 2014 Drake rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The subject matter was the only thing that was interesting, as well as original interviews and some new information. The writer practically wrote half the book in first person or would go off-topic, in a way that was really annoying. If this book was a history of the band, and not this album in particular, maybe the writer would have been less tempted to put in several chapters of filler.
May 31, 2009 Eoin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An almost pointless writing on the story behind 'Loveless', it's more about the authors views and experiences from listening to the bands music. There is no real insight into the production of the album. In a way it's better to leave some things remain a mystery.
Jul 28, 2009 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
I'm so grateful Mike decided to include chapters in this book, as it definitely made for an easier read than one might expect from such a hazy album. All in all, it was an interesting read which shone a little bit of light on an album that I enjoy quite a bit.
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