Ever since Kevin Shields shouted to the heavens that, yes, there will be a new My Bloody Valentine album, and gosh darn it, it will be great (well, more or less), m b v has been the Chinese Democracy of frontal-lobe-throbbing indie rock.
Or maybe not. First, it’s actually good. Second, there is no label, no heavyweight publicity and pomp and circumstance from the band’s camp. And, on our end, there is no radio team distributing it to radio, no one following up with 400 music directors to recommend that yes, you need to play this album this week. And yet it debuted at No. 30 on CMJ’s Top 200 this week. Such is the magic of the long-awaited album from a once commercially ignored, although critically praised, band.
So let’s go back in time to look at the CMJ legacy of Loveless, MBV’s 1991 album that ushered in a new era of loud and left fans drooling for a follow-up. Loveless peaked at No. 5., where it first landed on December 13, 1991. And there it would stay through the beginning of 1992.
“Only No. 5?!” you snort with fiery fury? Let’s think back to what was happening at the time. Loveless had a lot to contend with: during these weeks Nos. 1 through 4 were varying combinations of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque, Nirvana’s Nevermind, U2’s Acthung Baby and the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde. (And, yeah, Bandwagonesque was sitting pretty at No. 1 at the time, but Nevermind had previously parked in the top spot for a still-held record of 12 weeks in a row).
CMJ Chart For The Week Of January 31, 1992
ARTIST & TITLE
|1||TEENAGE FANCLUB Bandwagonesque||Creation|
|3||U2 Achtung Baby||Island|
|4||PIXIES Trompe Le Monde||4AD|
|5||MY BLOODY VALENTINE Loveless||Creation|
|6||LIVE Mental Jewelry||Radioactive|
|7||SOUNDTRACK Until The End Of The…||Warner Bros.|
|8||CRAMPS Look Mom No Head!||Restless|
|9||MATTHEW SWEET Girlfriend||Zoo|
|10||V/A I’m Your Fan: Songs Of Leonard…||Atlantic|
|11||MINISTRY “Jesus Built My Hotrod”||Warner Bros.|
|12||RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Blood Sugar…||Warner Bros.|
|16||SUPERCHUNK No Pocky For Kitty||Matador|
|17||REVEREND HORTON HEAT Smoke ‘Em…||Sub Pop|
|18||LOU REED Magic And Loss||Sire|
|20||SHAMEN En-Tact||One Little Indian|
In fact, Creation Records was having a swimming year: Loveless would become a classic benchmark in shoegaze, Swervedriver’s debut was putting the band on map, and Bandwagonesque would notoriously be named SPIN’s album of the year. And all three would go on to reunite for Coachella and All Tomorrow’s Parties over 15 years later.
The wait for My Bloody Valentine’s follow-up is over. But will m b v achieve that rare feat of a self-released record and reach the No. 1 spot? (The last album to make it was Radiohead’s In Rainbows, which landed at No. 1 on December 4, 2007.) But even more importantly, will m b v chart higher than Loveless?