October 3 — “Drive it All Over Me”, “You Made Me Realise” and “Angel” by My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine (circa 1990)

If you only listen to three songs today, make them “Drive It All Over Me” and “You Made Me Realise” by My Bloody Valentine (1998, from the You Made Me Realise EP), and “Angel”, by My Bloody Valentine. All are available on the 2012 2xCD/2xLP repackage of the My Bloody Valentine EPs, simply entitled EPs 1988-1991.

My Bloody Valentine was the definitive shoegaze band. They formed in Dublin in 1983, and put out a series of EPs leading up to their debut album Isn’t Anything in 1988. While their sound would later be defined by lots of studio work, lots of tape loops, lots of bizarre effects, and tsunamis of sound, the early sound was different. The early sound
was defined by heavy, hard, fuzzy guitar drones. Everything up to eleven.

Because today’s my birthday, I’m giving you lovely readers a gift. Not one, not two, but THREE songs from one of my favorite bands.

The first two of today’s songs are from the last of the “early” EPs — You Made Me Realise. That EP was the first release by the band on the legendary Creation Records label. The very label which they nearly bankrupted with their extraordinary second album, Loveless. The third of today’s songs was an unreleased song that used to be known as “Bilinda Song”. This past spring when the My Bloody Valentine catalog was reissued, the albums were given “remaster” treatment while the EPs from 1988 to 1981 were bundled into one package along with a few rare and previously unreleased songs from the era.

I really like “Drive All Over Me” for a lot of reasons. It’s from the Isn’t Anything era, when the focus was on playing the guitars really loud. Guitarist/singer Bilinda Butcher was fairly new to the band, and her role was to provide backing vocals. Later in the MBV timeline, she would have expanded vocal duties, but this was one of the first songs on which she sang the lead.

Lots of people can say that they were stopped in their tracks the first time that they heard My Bloody Valentine. Hundreds of bands can say that the experience of listening to MBV the first time inspired them to make music. The list is really long, and I’ll specifically bring up Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan has said that he literally couldn’t understand how they were doing what they were doing, and he knew then that he needed to rip them off. In the same way that Kurt Cobain was unapologetic about ripping off the Pixies when he wrote “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Corgan is forthright about ripping off My Bloody Valentine when he wrote “Daydream”, from their debut Gish. I’m also convinced that he was ripping off today’s song when he wrote “Today”, from Siamese Dream.

Anyway, here’s the first of today’s songs:
EDIT: The song has been removed due to a copyright claim

Right at the drop, I love the big bursts of guitar and bass over the light strains of another guitar. It’s fuzzier than you think it is. And the drums are pretty thick. Just like “Today”, it sounds sort of light, but the lyrics are pretty dark. There’s a lot of death and suicide in there.

Here’s the bulk of the lyrics:

Run run away run run away
‘Cause there’s nothing left to say
Got no one to talk to
Leave me alone and have me to die today
Run run away run run away
‘Cause there’s nothing left to say
Oh, the travel always gets me
Get in the car and drive it all over me

Cruelty in the winter
Happy when you’re down
Pulling faces running after me
And we’re sleeping underground
I didn’t mean to hurt you
Didn’t mean to make you sad
Wandering through all the memories
Of the good times that we had

Welcome to the fun time
We’re so happy here
We’ve no minds, we might as well be blind
We can lie together here
You can come down and join us
You’re more than welcome to
Even though it’s painful to the ears
But it might not all be true

“Leave me alone and have me to die today… We’re sleeping underground… You can come down and join us.” Wow. That sure is dark. Darker than the music. Bilinda Butcher’s sweet voice also belies the message of the song. And that’s part of what makes it so interesting.

The title track from the You Made Me Realise EP also featured a suggestion of death and suicide, with the line “you might as well commit suicide”. It was also the specific song that made people say that My Bloody Valentine was the loudest band that the ever saw. There’s a bit from 1:56 to 2:21 that’s pretty loud and abrasive on record. When they played that song live, they would make it as loud as the equipment would go, and they would play that bit for as long as they could physically stand it. Some reviews describe that bit as going on for 30 minutes. It’s what critics and audiences referred to as “the holocaust”

As an extra bonus, here’s that song. Look out for that bit from 1:56 to 2:21.

EDIT: The song has been removed due to a copyright claim
Now imagine that bit much, much louder and for a really, really long time. And further imagine that you’d already been exposed to dangerous noise levels when Dinosaur Jr was the opening band. Here’s one famous review of experiencing “You Made Me Realise” live. From David Cavanaugh’s book The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize, rock critic Mark Kemp:

“After three minutes [of the holocaust] people began to take deep breaths, cover their ears and eyes. Anger took over. After four minutes a calm took over. The noise continued. After five minutes a feeling of utter peace took over…”

The third song is one that wasn’t officially released until the 2012 re-releases. It’s one that really super-hardcore über-fans used to know simply as “Bilinda Song”. Because she sings lead. Here it is, without commentary:
EDIT: The song has been removed due to a copyright claim
It took a ton of money and a few years for My Bloody Valentine to release their second record — Loveless, which is universally celebrated as one of the most influential records of all time, and the paterfamilias of the shoegaze genre. After that, they toured a lot, then went back to work on a new record. One which they lost the tapes for. One for which another set of tapes was damaged. Disputes with record companies, more stories about Kevin Shields scrapping the whole record. A couple of years passed. Then a couple more. Next month, it’ll be 21 years since the release of Loveless. About every five years, rumors sprout up that there’s “confirmed reports” about a new record in the works. People get excited, and then it never happens. Right now, there’s a rumor that there are “confirmed reports” that there’s a new record which will be out by the end of 2012. I’m not holding my breath.

Isn’t Anything and Loveless were both reissued back in the spring along with a bundled package of the remastered EPs. They’re all quite nice, but they have nothing in the way of bonus material. If you don’t have a copy of either of these, I highly recommend both of them. They’re “essential”. Even more than that, though, I recommend the EP collection.

Order the EP collection here. Because it’s considered an “import” over here, the amazon.com site charges a premium for it. Even with the pound-to-dollar conversion and the cost of overseas shipping, it’s still much less expensive to order through amazon.co.uk. I’ve had very good experiences with that, anyway. Loveless 2xCD remaster is here, and the Isn’t Anything remaster here. You can bundle all three together and save.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

One response to “October 3 — “Drive it All Over Me”, “You Made Me Realise” and “Angel” by My Bloody Valentine

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