Archive | May, 2018

A Ranking of Neil Young Live Albums

So a couple of weeks ago, as part of the excitement of seeing Neil Young & Crazy Horse for the first time in decades — did that really even happen? — I put together a highly controversial ranking of Neil Young’s studio albums.

And that should have been that, but no, Tim asked for a ranking of live albums, which as you’ll see is a slightly more malleable category. Obviously Time Fades Away doesn’t count, but A Treasure does, even though wouldn’t have if it had been released in 1985 instead of Old Ways. There are even a couple of things here that aren’t even officially Neil Young live albums.

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Certain Songs #1220: My Bloody Valentine – “In Another Way”

Album: m v b
Year: 2013

In 1992, My Bloody Valentine left Creation records — whom they were rumoured to have bankrupted — signed with Island, built a home studio and went to work on the follow-up to Loveless.

Then some time passed. We all got older, though some of us got younger than that now.

In 2003, over a decade after Loveless — whose already stellar reputation had ossified into “all time great” at least partially because there hadn’t been a follow-up — Kevin Shields put out some new music as part of the soundtrack to Lost in Translation. But it wasn’t My Bloody Valentine, so it only counted to a certain extent.

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Certain Songs #1219: My Bloody Valentine – “Soon”

Album: Loveless
Year: 1991

Then again, I kept playing the puzzling Loveless in order to get to its final song, the glorious mesmerizing “Soon,” which ended the album on a massive high.

One of those songs that get you lost in time and space, “Soon” almost defies any kind of musical analysis, but then, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, now would I?

Unlike most of the rest of the songs on Loveless, where the beats were fighting against the song, “Soon” stood out because it rode on top of a drum loop that could have powered any number of contemporary hip-hop songs: it was propulsive, moving ever forward, almost sprightly.

Meanwhile, Kevin Shields came up with what I think is the greatest of all of his guitar hooks: an infinite pinwheel of colors, which he alternated with soft fuzzy washes of sound. There are vocals, of course, what sounds like both Shields and Bilinda Butcher singing what sounds like might be words, but of course, they’re really more like musical splashes of contrast to all of the fiery guitar chaos going on.

Controlled chaos of course: every single note of “Soon” was exactly where it was supposed to be, drawing you into its endless white hole of gravitational pull, as it was in the beginning is now and shall ever be world without end amen. Nothing exists but that infinite pinwheel of colors and isn’t it pretty lets just stare at it for awhile. Or forever.

“Soon”

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Certain Songs #1219: My Bloody Valentine – “Soon”

Album: Loveless
Year: 1991

Then again, I kept playing the puzzling Loveless in order to get to its final song, the glorious mesmerizing “Soon,” which ended the album on a massive high.

One of those songs that get you lost in time and space, “Soon” almost defies any kind of musical analysis, but then, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, now would I?

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Certain Songs #1218: My Bloody Valentine – “To Here Knows When”

Album: Loveless
Year: 1991

Of course, if Loveless was all bombs bursting in air all of the time, then it probably would have gotten tedious, no matter how unprecedented those bombs happened to be.

That’s why Loveless also featured a few songs that were far more atmospheric than the bangers that mostly dominated it. Of course, “atmospheric” is a relative term on a record that is dominated by tidal waves of massed sound, which is why “To Here Knows When” almost trails off into the ambient realm.

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