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.

With Kevin Shields’ guitars making the sound of fireflies surfing a lovely breeze on a starry summer night, “To Here Knows When” feels sweet and sad at the same time, like when you think about a friend’s parent who has recently died, knowing that person led a good life, and was always nothing but wonderful any time you ever saw them.

There are vocals by Bilinda Butcher, and there is a drum loop, but both are buried so deep under the gauzy washes of guitars upon which the fireflies are drifting that “To Here Knows When” practically plays as an instrumental; everywhere and nowhere at once, all-encompassing in the moment, but hard to pin down after it’s all over.

“To Here Knows When” official music video

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