MBV: YOU MADE ME REALISE EP + 5 Songs I can't get out of my head


13 Jun 2007, 23:18

My Bloody Valentine: You Made Me Realise EP
My Bloody Valentine is one of those bands that’s inspired some seriously bloated prose. I’ll not add my own to it, so I’ll just say without any reservations that their two full-length albums, 1988’s Isn’t Anything and 1991’s Loveless are must-owns for anyone who listens to music.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a bit of a fetish for awesome singles and EP’s, and MBV did quite a few of those. While Glider and Tremolo, the two that preceded Loveless, are frequently lauded, You Made Me Realise, which was released in England three months before Isn’t Anything, is song-for-song, even better. Here’s a look at this groovy little record, song by song:
You Made Me Realise: Any idiot who insists on calling MBV a ‘dream-pop’ band ought to listen to this track and feel thoroughly ashamed for labeling the band’s music so inaccurately. This is nothing less than the sound of nuclear holocaust in the form of a three-minute pop single. The band slam through one of the greatest chord changes I’ve ever heard (E-D-C, then A-C; so ridiculously simple yet so amazing) with typically obscure lyrics. The middle section is 30 minutes of swirling feedback and noise, then the band go back to the original music. The guitars after the third minute sound like a rocket taking off. I’ve probably overanalyzed the song musically, as I tend to do, but you must hear this song in its entirety. Astonishing.
Slow: This song has been called ‘fuzzed-out sex.’ I wouldn’t know, but it does seem rather sensuous, in a way that Madonna’s Sex-period work never was. It’s got two or three heavy, slow, fuzz-laden guitar chords, a guitar that sounds like an ancient organ and rather racy lyrics by Kevin Shields. ‘Slow,’ along with the next track ‘Thorn,’ is a lovely demonstration of how underrated a drummer Colm O’Ciosoig was.
Thorn: This one hearkens back to their Ecstacy and Wine period a bit. It’s jangly and fey, but there’s a bit of 1988 MBV in the searing airplane guitars that run through the course of the song, giving it a sense of movement and propulsion. Fun, but overshadowed vastly by the next track.
Cigarette in Your Bed: Nothing short of epic, this song here is both one of the standouts in the MBV catalogue but a standout of 80’s indie-rock in general. I can’t really do this song justice with words, so just imagine something off of Loveless with the intense ensemble dynamics of Isn’t Anything and you’re pretty close. If you only hear one song off this EP, make it this one.
Drive It All Over Me: Bit of a letdown. It’s a pleasant but rather poor song saved by a sumptuous bassline from my all-time favourite lesbian, Debbie Googe.
Overall grade: A-

5 songs I can't get out of my head
Continuing The Wreck by 1800s Sea Monster: Awesome indie rock song, with one of the coolest sounding two-chord vamps I've ever heard. The part that really draws you in is the insistently chiming lead guitar in the background. With the exception of the noisy bit in the middle, I can totally see the local modern-rock station playing this. The lyrics? Can't make 'em out but who cares really? All I know is, they've got to get their records available outside of Bangor, Maine.

You're A Wolf by Sea Wolf: This song is absolutely amazing. Sea Wolf are a really mellow indie-pop group, but not boring like Death Cab for Cutie. There's some really nice violin on it and lyrics about gypsys and wine. I really need to get their EP and so do you.

The Universal by Blur: Britpop doyens Blur made a largely uneven fourth album with The Great Escape, but you have to admit, "The Universal" is one of the best alternative-rock ballads of the 90's. The string motif that opens the song is perhaps the most gorgeous I've ever heard, and Graham Coxon's guitar part is understated, lovely and graceful.

The Hardest Walk by The Jesus and Mary Chain: I’m all for experimentation in music, but sometimes when you’ve got a great song, it’s just best to put it out there with as little added on as possible. That’s basically what the Reid brothers do here. I don’t think these guys were capable of writing a bad song until the mid-90’s, but this one is particularly exceptional.

Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong by Radiohead: As I’ve written previously, My Iron Lung is a neat little EP, which is something that I just adore (if my band will ever do something, I want us to bring back the CD-single, with three or four odd little B-sides that show the true character of the artists more than the album tracks do). This song isn’t like anything else in the Radiohead catalogue that I know of. It’s quite conventional in its structure but you can really hear the seeds of the band’s late-90’s work being sown here and it’s quite beautiful to notice.

5 Random Artists
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Next entry
-A belated 40th anniversary tribute to Sgt. Pepper
-Courtney Love
-My latest musical experiment


  • cryfok

    1) the fact the song regularly skips a beat but picks up on the 1, not the 2. 2) the fact that, given #1, it's still a wonderfully poppy song 3) i don't think i've ever heard a bassline double the melody on a chorus. brilliant move. (ps, i'm obsessed too. sorry if this came off as snark!)

    24 Jun 2007, 18:12
  • hasuf

    [quote] I assume you never saw them live if you're 17, but I would kill to see them do the extended noise thing during you made me realise. [/quote] i saw mbv back in 1992 in LA and it was easily the best show i've ever been to. the music they were able to make sounded at once close to the record yet had the edge and rawness of a live performance. and on that particular night they didn't have any technical glitches. (i had dragged some friends out to see them for the same tour but the SF gig, and they had all sorts of technical problems) during the long noise bit in the middle of 'realize', you kinda go through a bunch of phases. from whoa. awesome when it just starts to yikes. how long has this been going? to a quasi-meditative state where there's so much noise that you kinda hear music within the noise. hard to explain. i remember kevin shields just doing a blank stare into the audience. what i can't remember is the exact cue he gave to end the song (musta been a nod over his shoulder)... but then after what had to have been at least 20 minutes, all of a sudden it went back to the bah-bah-bah-duh-duh-bah-bah-bah-duh-duh to finish up the song. amazing. i've read that they've done shows where it was at least 40 minutes. i'm sure many a bootleg were cut off in the middle of that song ;) and i gotta agree with cryfok. 'drive it all over me' is such a great song. so happy and poppy with that fuzz lining (and bilinda's sweet voice). to Spaceboy24601, go. now. check out isn't anything. if anything, it's just interesting to hear it as a proto-loveless record, where you can hear the evolution of the sound. that's the least you'll get from it. perhaps even make you appreciate 'loveless' more. *shrug*. i wish i had known them when they released isn't anything. their shows from that era were great, too (from the boots i've heard). btw, i would suggest people go to their favorite music-getting services and looking for live mbv material. what i've found are from 3 mbv eras... the '87 tour with the incarnation where there was another singer (i can't remember his name and am too lazy at the moment to look it up), the '89 isn't anything tour, and the '92 loveless tour. lots of mbv fans dismiss the '87 material; i like 'em all, but that's just me. the fuzz and distortion are in full effect in those early shows too. it's also cool to hear how some of the material from isn't anything sounds fuller, with more of a 'loveless' sound ('you never should' comes to mind). of course, you wouldn't have to go searching if someone would just $@!*%! release the mbv box set that was rumoured several years ago

    27 Jun 2007, 6:12
  • IAJP

    you are brilliant!

    13 Jul 2007, 23:07
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