Friday, October 8, 2010

Favorite Songs of All Time: "Alison" by Slowdive

Since I've been feeling wholly uninspired as of late and have started posting a few links to various music videos, I figured it'd make for a new series for the blog*. At least there's a rich vein of content that I can mine. And it's one more thing I can struggle to write about as I peck out borderline gibberish.

Music has always meant so very much to me. If I could only consume one type of artwork, I'd happily give up films, TV, photography and reading as long as I could still surround my life with great music.

Today's song, "Alison", comes from England's Slowdive, arguably one of the most notable bands from the early-90's "shoegaze" indie rock movement. Along with the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Lush, Swervedriver, Pale Saints and Verve, the band created atmospheric guitar sounds that enveloped the listener with a warm fuzz - in Slowdive's case, courtesy of their alluring Rickenbacker guitars and more melancholic demeanor. Lyrics are not the song's high point, mainly speaking to one who is apparently pretty strung-out, but the feel and mood of the music took priority to meaning for most of the shoegazers. Overall, 1993's Souvlaki is my second favorite album in the genre, right after My Bloody Valentine's 1991 masterpiece Loveless. Side note to MBV's Kevin Shields: please remaster and reissue Loveless soon. The version of "Sometimes" from 2004's Lost In Translation soundtrack sounds so much better than the album version.

These days Souvlaki is most listened to during trans-continental flights. With some melatonin and red wine in my system, it becomes a perfect album to drift in and out of sleep and lucid dreams to. And thanks to the iPod's repeat function, there are times when it will play four to five times in a row as I waste the hours away, grasping for some shut eye while sitting in an uncomfortable and blown-out Boeing seat.

Obviously a low-budget video (as they all should be), likely shot by a friend of the band, it's rather dated. Even though the song is seventeen years old, I had never viewed it until today.

Slowdive likely saw the writing on the wall that the shoegaze scene would eventually play out, so the band morphed into almost-as-great Mojave 3. Singer/songwriter Neil Halstead has also released a few intimate and pastoral records on his own over the past few years. All good stuff.

*I've gone back to the two previous videos posted as of late (linked in the first sentence) and re-titled and tagged them as "favorite songs of all time".

And note that I spelled the song title correctly, the uploader of the video added an additional "l".

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