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This is your Bloody Valentine: Shoegaze Love Songs




As a lifelong musician, shoegaze was my first love. I tried to get with the Madchester sound, but as a guitarist, I just never was able to bond with wah-wah pedals. Shoegazing seemed to arrive just in time, back in the early 1990s – when grunge was oversaturating the airwaves. Some of us who never even-flowed or snuffed a rooster turned to this innovative music scene that was emerging in England. At first, the shoegaze sound blended the haunting beauty of ‘80s goth with the distorted six-string experiments of indie rock. But shoegaze very soon evolved to take on many different styles within the genre.

The term “shoegazing” was coined because guitarists of the genre have a penchant for hoarding effects pedals and spending much of their performances staring downward as they stomp on them. My friends Mike, Lisa, Mark, and I fell in love with this sound and started our own inspired band, Ozean.



Glider by My Bloody ValentineGlider by My Bloody Valentine


But before meeting my bandmates, it was My Bloody Valentine’s 1990 EP Glider that first taught me how electric guitars could be used to build gossamer, sonic cathedrals of beautiful noise. But the more I listened to bands like RIDE, Pale Saints, and Swervedriver, I discovered something beneath the blissed-out layers of ethereal guitar wash – these bands wrote some incredible love songs. So, this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share my favorite Pandora station, Shoegaze Love Songs.




Mad Love by LushMad Love by Lush


Admittedly, this station reminds me of my very first shoegazing-themed mixtape. Back when a girlfriend told me she loved Cocteau Twins, I loaded her up a TDK 90 cassette with Chapterhouse, Lush, Xmal Deutschland, and the more amorous songs from This Mortal Coil. During those first few months of new relationship magic, these artists soundtracked my post-adolescent romance with their dreamy atmospheres, undulating electric guitars, and whisper-sung adorations.





Everything's Alright Forever by The Boo RadleysEverything's Alright Forever by The Boo RadleysThis is not to say that classic shoegaze is all petals and flowers. The genre holds many songs of soured sentiments for all you anti-Valentine’s Day folks. I speak from experience - because my favorite shoegazers were just as skilled at crafting songs of heartbreak, I mixed a break-up themed tape as well. After getting dumped my freshman year of college, my newfound ex received a parting gift: a collection of songs by Slowdive, Curve, The Boo Radleys, Swallow, and The Telescopes that I carefully curated to passive-aggressively convey what my bleeding heart (i.e. bruised ego) felt like. Yes, I was that guy. And while my communication skills have come a long way, I still love listening to those dreamy old songs of dramatic infatuation and loveless wallowing. Maybe you will too.