Posts Tagged ‘you made me realise’

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My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise

September 17, 2008

Before My Bloody Valentine released their first album, Isn’t Anything, in 1988, they released a boatload of EPs. These EPs had a clear progression, but it was not until the seventh such EP, You Made Me Realise, when the band started to refine themselves into something important, and something more than a cheap pop band. Not that there was anything wrong with Strawberry And Wine and Ecstasy. Although they were deliberately vintage in their songcraft, they were loaded with fantastic pop that was more shimmering than most anything else on the market. In that sense, You Made Me Realise clearly bridges the gap between Ecstasy and Isn’t Anything. My Bloody Valentine are still a pop band, but are trying new and brave things. All the songs here are under four minutes, making the EP feel tightly wound, and each song has something completely different to offer. We still hear the familiar pop gold on the fast, driving Thorn and the closing Drive It All Over Me, two of the catchiest tunes ever put to record. Conversely slow and creamy is the hip hop inspired Slow. It has no chorus, and features one of the first examples of My Bloody Valentines famous tremelo techniques that would be touched on with Isn’t Anything and perfected on Loveless. The title track is three and a half minutes of blistering punk, and is in many respects My Bloody Valentine’s most triumphant single, with a final noise freakout that would swell from forty seconds to twenty minutes by the time it became a live staple for My Bloody Valentine to turn up their amps to ludicrous volumes and bombard their audiences with noise. This noise break may very well have been what inspired My Bloody Valentine to do the great things they did on Isn’t Anything and Loveless. Equally as interesting is the avant garde song Cigarette In Your Bed, which develops from a marching pace to a sprinting final stretch, all while experimenting with a range of guitar techniques. All of this comes together to make an extremely important EP in the history of both My Bloody Valentine and the shoegaze genre, but more importantly one of the most fun and listenable EPs of all time.

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My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise [EP]

February 23, 2007

You Made Me Realise

You know what, fuck it. I do feel a bit silly and obsessive. I realize that most of what I listen to and talk about nowadays is My Bloody Valentine. But I honestly don’t care. They are already one of my absolute favorite bands, and if there was ever an EP that I have not given enough attention, it’s the You Made Me Realise EP, or for those of you who are just sticklers for American linguistics, the You Made Me Realize EP. Released at virtually the same time as Isn’t Anything, this EP was in the same way nothing short of a miracle. And by that I mean, during the recording of both this EP and Isn’t Anything, the band was frisked into the studio and cranked out solid gold in a matter of days. You Made Me Realise is a five song molotov of all the best aspects of MBV, from the jangley pop of their earlier days to the luscious mystery of the Isn’t Anything era and the etherealness of the Loveless era. It’s got everything. Loveless may be the best MBV album, but You Made Me Realise pulls no punches and ends up just as consistant as Loveless. The fact of the matter is, most of the stuff on this EP dwarfs the stuff on Isn’t Anything. Each track is a hand picked treat. You need this EP… It might just be the best EP ever.

The title track kicks of the disk, and rightfully so, because by this point it was the best damn thing the band ever wrote. YMMR is a chainsaw punk explosion more uptempo and full of energy than any of the bands other material. Colm’s drums are in full force and the guitars are rhythmic and exciting. The male/female vocals are as always perfect and the mood is very vital and momentous. When they scream “go go go,” you’d best be hauling ass. The solo kicks in at just the right time, with a spacey little portion leading into what the fans could only call “it” at live shows. “It” is also known as the “holocaust.” What it is is the band basically cranking up their amps as loud as possible and cranking out the same chords for as long as it would take to get the audience to respond positively. But this was a bit difficult, considering it was a deafening sound that probably shouldn’t have been legal at the time. It would, in fact, sometimes last for over a half hour and Mike McGonnigal likened it to sticking your head into a jet engine in 33 1/3. It may seem like a short outing on the record, but live, this was a force to be reconed with. I think the point of it was that when you listened to it live, it would just hurt like hell at first, but after a while your mind would almost make up some awesome melody and play it over in your head after a while, probably due to delirium. This is a choice song and one of MBVs best.

Next up is Slow, and while it is clearly the EPs weakest track, it still ended up being a live staple until the bands lengthy demise. Mike McGonnigal interviews Kevin Shields about this song in 33 1/3, and he mentions, and you can clearly hear this, that the song is almost hip hop influenced. It moves along at a sexual chugalong pace and doesn’t really have a chorus or verse. The lyrics are very openly sexual and talk about licking and sucking and stuff. It’s actually an enjoyable track if you get to know it well enough. It just comes off as very boring, but this is one of the more odd tracks My Bloody Valentine ever did, as far as song construction goes, but the background wall of chords is really well built here. It’s true to it’s title; this is the slowest track on the EP, but it’s not quite boring. It just doesn’t go anywhere, that’s all. After three minutes, the track is awkwardly ended.

The third song, Thorn, is the exact opposite of Slow. It’s a conventional pop jangle that goes at a pretty quick pace, so putting it next to Slow was probably actually a good idea. I don’t know why this wasn’t played more live… It has one of the bands finest verses ever and it features Kevin Shields in his vocal prime. It is a very touching and romantic song that makes very good use of Colm’s fantastic underrated drumming style, specifically the mildly offbeat drumrolls which he utilizes every so often. This is sort of a middle ground between Ecstacy and Wine and Isn’t Anything. It has the Isn’t Anything chord wall but also the irresistable hook. You really have to hear this to believe it, it’s just a great sunny pop treasure.

But then there is Cigarette In Your Bed. Which is a huge contrast, as it is conversely very serious and easily the strangest thing the band wrote by that time. Colm’s Drums sound like a restless funeral march that then burst into hard hitting thrashes during the time where the guitars pick up and play out some really strong biting chords. The mood is melancholy and dreamy, the vocals bizaare and possibly referring to some odd fetish of sorts. It may be strange, but it ends perfectly, with the tempo really picking up and revealing a vocal hook that makes the listener kind of go “oh, now I get it.” Hynotic, insatiable, and washed in great sound, this is a wonderful MBV gem.

Thankfully it is followed up sucessfully, by a track that actually matches if not trumps the opener, Drive It All Over Me. This song, like Cigarette, features Belinda alone on vocals, and damn can she sing. This is easily my favorite MBV hook of all time, and the song is the most conventional yet irresistable. The lyrics are truly ingenious, and they speak of apathy, loneliness, and a cheery indifference; “Travel always gets me/Get in the car and drive it all over me.” The melodic vocals are totally put in the forefront, but the guitars are simple and nice while the bassline is one of Deb’s best. She is actually a very underrated bassist at all. Shit, everyone in MBV is underrated at their trades. Kevin Shields is a guitarist/musician that should be legendary, and the Googe/O’Ciosoig combo is just fantastic. Belinda is of course the icing on the cake, a decent guitarist, pretty face, and wonderful vocalist. This is essentially MBV going “fuck it, let’s just make some really great pop.” Simply wonderful.

I know I’m repetetive. I know this is short. But I always look for an excuse to whore off this band and talk about them, so I guess I’ll be content with doing this here.