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My Bloody Valentine's Loveless (33 1/3) Paperback – January 10, 2007
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"Sing to Me" by LA Reid
My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who's Next | Check out "Sing to Me".
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Top Customer Reviews
McGonigal's major folly has been duly noted in several user reviews on this site that appeared prior to this one; if I'm not mistaken, the headline below mine screams, "Too much McGonigal, not enough MBV." That's a pretty succinct summation. To be more specific, though, this book reads like a report written by an over-enthusiastic high-school senior who has just discovered the work of Lester Bangs, and it's pretty obvious that the author of this piece is excited to be writing something that he knows SOMEONE will be reading. Thus, it seems he lets his own ego gets the better of him.
Between gratitous and blatant name-dropping (bands/artists referenced on pages 6-8: Dinosaur Jr, Flipper, G.G. Allin, Throbbing Gristle, Charlie Patton, Lou Reed, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Maryanne Amacher, and the Sun City Girls; we get it dude, you like indie rock) and superfluous personal anecdotes (if you want to know what drugs the author was using or selling and when, check out page 17, which falls in the middle of a four-page "chapter" that's supposed to name and describe each of the individual tracks that comprise "Loveless"), McGonigal's narrative is a big, sloppy mess.Read more ›
I also really enjoyed the book, but not for the reasons I usually enjoy this series. The book does have a lot of McGonigal's personal anecdotes, but I was able to look past those, because he made a damn good effort to speak to every member of the band (3 of 4 are represented in the text), people from the Creation lable, engineers, management and friends. Primary interviews make a world of difference -- why speculate about Kevin Shield's state of mind when you can ask him? Few authors in this series have gone the extra mile to deliver points of view from so many people involved with the album in question.
I also enjoyed getting what I consider the first real response from Shields about the huge cost and time consumption of Loveless -- even if he's wrong, it at least balances out the people who say he bankrupt the company (clearly he didn't help).
However, the book is really only partially about Loveless and only mostly focused on the time the album was being made. It's really a My Bloody Valentine book and as Loveless is their most important work and took up a huge amount of the time they were a band, it's the central issue. The book treads into technical and song writing territory to a certain degree, however I still don't have much of an idea about what Shields was doing in the studio, but that has as much to do with the way Shields answers the questions as how the book was written.
If you've read every Shields interview and think you know everything about My Bloody Valentine, you can probably skip this book. If however, you want to read everything you need to know about them in an afternoon -- pick it up, it's a very enjoyable, if somewhat disjointed read.
In the book McGonigal even mentions that it had to be rewritten because MBV's Kevin Shields disagreed with the first version of it.
If you love the album, you will think the book is OK. Just be ready to ignore the author occasionally.
The attempt at technical investigation of the music falls flat into a series of contradictions. He starts to discuss the mixing process in mono versus stereo and leaves it wide open with no real conclusions or actual analysis of the mix. He mentions that the band modified their guitars' tremolo arms, but he doesn't explore how or why. When he starts to talk about the effects used on the album, he starts by saying there were no modulation effects but then after this the details about the reverb, tremolo, and multi-amp effects are just glossed over. More than once I wondered if the band members were simply playing with him and feeding him misinformation.
The worst hipster flaw is when he drops the name of the "808 bass sampling keyboard (making) squelches". The Roland TR-808 is an all-analog (zero samples, no keyboard) drum machine, and the Roland TB-303 is the bass synth that squelches (but has no keyboard and definitely doesn't sample). How this got messed up so badly is anyone's guess, but it just underscores that this author shouldn't go near technical music topics with a ten foot pole.
Ultimately this book is a loosely coupled collection of quotes from the band and other books written about them, and the author either doesn't understand how to interpret them or is just too enamored with the album to offer anything but fawning praise. I was hoping for so much more.
I would definitely not recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More than a little fangirlish but generally well written and gives clarity and insight to one of the great albums in all of pop music.Published 3 months ago by Marshall D. Mckenzie
I disagree with the reviews that charge the author with first-person egotism. He's comfortable, in fact, portraying himself as an unglamorous music dork. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Paul Rayson
Interestingly written in places, not over-full of new information (not a book's worth, in any case). Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by Michael A. Emanuele
An album as iconic as Loveless deserves a much better writer. I still find it astonishing that this man was granted such intimate access to information surrounding this album. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by Juan Diego Marroquin
If you know and love the album, this book is aggressively irrelevant. If you've never heard Loveless and are curious about the hubbub, take the money you would have spent on it and... Read morePublished on September 26, 2011 by Brutus Franco
Not a bad book, but I was hoping for more insight into what was happening behind the scenes and possibly more about the making of the album. Read morePublished on June 10, 2010 by Ahren E. Lehnert
This book has no business being published. Any mystic and allure of the album has been unveiled in the worst ways by an amatuerish account. Read morePublished on March 4, 2010 by Amazon Customer
I thought this generally was a good book - the quotes from Shields were probably the highlight of it. Read morePublished on June 25, 2009 by dreamsofvisions
Loveless is author Mike McGonigal's tale as much as it is about this immortal record and even more legendary band. Read morePublished on January 12, 2009 by David M. Madden