Two albums to listen to: A pair of experimental projects

Chris Duncan

Editor’s note: In this recurring column, music writer Chris Duncan suggests two albums to listen to this week. Have a suggestion? Send a tweet to @chr_dunc, and your pick might appear in next week’s Two Albums To Listen To.

Loveless My Bloody Valentine

After the band’s first release Isn’t Anything, My Bloody Valentine’s status as a cult favorite was enough to establish themselves in the scene, but it wasn’t until their next album, Loveless, that the band’s legacy was cemented as a pioneering rock group.

Loveless took two years to create, nearly bankrupting the band’s label in the process. But what emerged, however, was worth their efforts ­— a masterpiece of rock that became the defining album for shoegaze.

Building off the sound established in Isn’t Anything, My Bloody Valentine ramped up the enchanting melodies and biting vocals, walking the listener through 11 separate moments in a vague story of love. 

Although the group was not able to follow Loveless properly because of frontman Kevin Shields’ writer’s block and apparent meltdown, it would have been nearly impossible to complete another album as far-reaching as Loveless. Fortunately for fans, the group reunited in 2007, hitting the reset switch and releasing a new self-titled record m b v.

Tracks to listen to: “Only Shallow,” “When You Sleep,” “Sometimes”

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Homogenic Björk

After her second and third albums, Debut and Post, respectively, found mainstream success, Björk was primed to become art pop’s next huge star. However, with Homogenic, she turned to electronic beats and string instruments to drive her creative impulses, a choice that furthered her reputation as one of the brightest minds in modern music.

Tearing down her image as an Icelandic pop singer, Björk shed her precious appearance for a more brutal and deep one. Sonically, this album ventures into the abstract, combining stuttering and clanky electronic production with live, and often dark, string instruments. Her sound alternates between light and dark to convey raw emotion.

Although Björk moved on from this sound and certainly isn’t defined by this release, Homogenic is still her most complete and impressive effort, forcing listeners to consider it as one of the best electronic albums of its era.

Tracks to listen to: “Hunter,” “Jöga,” “Bachelorette”

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