Like the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and the Jesus & Mary Chain before them, my bloody valentine redefined what noise meant within the context of pop songwriting. Led by guitarist Kevin Shields, the group released several EPs in the mid-'80s before recording the era-defining Isn't Anything in 1988, a record that merged lilting, ethereal melodies of the Cocteau Twins with crushingly loud, shimmering distortion. Though my bloody valentine rejected rock & roll conventions, they didn't subscribe to the precious tendencies of anti-rock art-pop bands. Instead, they rode crashing waves of white noise to unpredictable conclusions, particularly since their noise wasn't paralyzing like the typical avant-garde noise rock band: it was translucent, glimmering, and beautiful. In 1991, my bloody valentine released Loveless, which broke new sonic ground and was hailed as a masterpiece; it was greeted with uniformly excellent reviews and became a hit within the U.K., reaching number 24 on the charts. Though the band was poised for a popular breakthrough, it disappeared into the studio and didn't emerge over the next five years, leaving behind a legacy that proved profoundly influential in the direction of '90s alternative rock.
- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG