My Bloody Valentine Loveless Album Cover Close-Up

Why You Should Listen to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless Through Your Headphones

Once you’ve heard My Bloody Valentine and their magnum opus, Loveless, something inside you is forever altered. Known for its cacophonous guitar work and the great lengths taken to complete the album, Loveless threw the rule book right out the window and introduced a whole new way to express one’s self through the transcendent and tortured textures of an electric guitar.

The intensity of Kevin Shields’ vision and the details surrounding the recording process have become modern myths. Online accounts of the recording costs range from £140,000  to £250,000, and Kevin Shields himself claims that they worked with as many as 45 engineers over the two and a half year recording period (only 16 engineers are credited on the album).

As a longtime vinyl collector, I’ve sometimes been guilty of not keeping up with some of the latest and greatest gear and I’ve completely avoided wireless headphones up until this point. Once I decided to push aside my stubbornness and explore the world of Bluetooth, I knew that I had to pair the Technics EAH-AZ60 headphones with an album known for its innovative production.

The glide guitar technique used on Loveless combines de-tuned bends with a tremolo arm and reverse reverb to create an immersive experience that has to be heard through headphones to fully appreciate. So I cued up the album, dimmed the lights, and laid back unencumbered by wires to sink beneath the endless shoegaze waves of My Bloody Valentine.

As soon as album opener “Only Shallow” kicks in, those waves begin to bob up and down with a wavering siren’s wail of guitar and the entrancing ethereal vocals of Bilinda Butcher. With a nice set of headphones like the EAH-AZ60, the song is a calming yet exhilarating storm that only exists between my ears. The driving fuzz beneath it all and crisp drums immediately reminded me that this is the definitive shoegaze album for a reason. The atmosphere is lush, but every instrument occupies its own space and makes a strong argument for why it’s essential.

“Loomer” starts with a similar verve. It made me feel like I was hanging upside down and my head was being dipped into a swirling pool of sound. The seasick guitar pulls you into deeper waters before the manipulated feedback of “Touched” enchants and shifts the mood. Maybe it’s the headphones talking, but one moment I was comfortably nestled in sound and the next, I became hyper aware of my surroundings as “Touched” plays out like the soundtrack of a demented underwater ballet.

Listening to “To Here Knows When” with hi-fi headphones is an experience I won’t soon forget. The whirlpool of ambient textures and noise went round and round in my head. At times, the sensation resembled placing my ear in front of an amp, lifting my head away from the speaker, and moving it back down again. At other times, it felt more like aural eels swimming through one ear and writhing out the other.

“When You Sleep” may be one of the more straightforward songs on the album, but headphones helped highlight the incredible bass tone and the layers that take a backseat behind the driving rhythm. “I Only Said” brings the sonic wash back to the forefront as the vocals are slowly swallowed up by the swelling sounds of bending strings.

Just when I thought I may be able to come up for air, “Come In Alone” pulled me back out to sea. “Sometimes” throws a twist into the mix as the composition juxtaposes clean guitar and dirty fuzz. The slow but steady build is uplifting, like somebody may throw you a life raft at any moment. Luckily for me, that life raft never arrived.

“Blown A Wish” plunges you into a world of warping vocals and cascading atmosphere. “What You Want” follows with some brash noise that made me feel like I was being knocked around in the audio whitewash. Album closer “Soon” incorporates a danceable beat, three layers of Kevin Shields’ glide guitar, and a nice booming bass drum that is still reverberating through my skull.

As I was listening, it often felt like I was hearing Loveless for the very first time. Those otherworldly earworms I knew and loved expanded in every direction with the help of Technics’ EAH-AZ60 earbuds. With analog and digital processing, noise-cancelling capabilities, and an easy-to-use app, even a curmudgeon such as myself was able to easily dial in my own customized high-fidelity listening experience. The detailed soundstage and wireless mobility are luxuries I’ve deprived myself of for far too long. Don’t want to take my word for it? Maybe Leon Bridges can convince you.

Pair these headphones with the recent analog remaster of Loveless (which also took two years and tons of money to complete) and you’ll be more than ready to dive headfirst into the never-ending depths of My Bloody Valentine.

Published in partnership with Technics.


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