I enjoy a good margarita. For me, a good margarita is three parts 100% agave, silver tequila, 1 part good triple sec (Cointreau, Citrónge) or brandy-based orange liqueur, 1 part fresh-squeezed lime. Shake with ice. Pour over ice into a salt-rimmed glass.
CoolMom and I were on our second margarita when My Bloody Valentine announced that what they had promised earlier in the evening, their first album in almost 22 years, had gone “live” on their website. I dropped my fish taco and took my slightly tequila-addled brain over to my computer to order the vinyl and grab the download. Disappointment.
For the next 3 or so hours, www.mybloodyvalentine.org buckled under the pressure of people trying to do exactly the same thing I was. Conspiracy theorists might say that this was all by design. By the time the site did reappear, working smoothly without a single hiccup, the mindiesphere had worked itself into a virtual frenzy. Jokes about the album’s title actually being 403: Access Denied (which is a good album title / band name, by the way) were everywhere. My Bloody Valentine, which — let’s face it — is really a relatively unknown band outside of the mindie, music nerd verse, had made their way onto the Twitter timelines and Facebook newsfeeds of people who’d only ever associated the phrase “My Bloody Valentine” with an early 1980’s slasher flick recently remade in glorious 3D.
The site eventually came back to life, and we could all grab our copies of mbv and begin comparing it to its predecessor, the 1991 landmark Loveless. Loveless is an album that I can put on repeat for an entire evening as I just lose myself in the noisy guitars and the mostly unintelligible, airy vocals of Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher. The thing that makes Loveless most successful, though, is that bubbling up from under all of the noise are the melodies and pop hooks that make songs like “Only Shallow,” “When You Sleep,” and “Soon” so great. And you can hear the beginnings of the more popular 1990’s alternative rock and today’s ubiquitous dream pop in Lovless’s primordial ooze.
The first two songs on mbv, “she found now” and “only tomorrow,” recreate a lot of that sound with Shields taking vocal duties on the first track and Butcher on the second. I’m going to need a bit of time to process the rest of the record, but my initial impression is that some of the hallmarks of pop get stripped out of the later tracks.
Right now, though, I’m more interested in how last night went down. My Bloody Valentine took almost twenty-two years of pent up demand and squeezed the last possible drop (this would be a good place for a clumsy lime / margarita metaphor) of anticipation out of it — maybe only by accident — before finally coming through with what everyone had probably forgotten they even wanted until recently.