Only Shallow

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher, both vocalists and guitarists for My Bloody Valentine, this is the album opener and second single from Loveless. The track is known for what Shields calls the "glide guitar" technique, which he explained in a 1992 Guitar World interview as "just two amps facing each other, with tremolo. And the tremolo on each amp is set to a different rate. There's a mic between the two amps. I did a couple of overdubs of that, then I reversed it and played it backwards into a sampler. I put them on top of each other so they kind of merged in."
  • Loveless was the band's second studio album and has gone down in music history as not only being their masterpiece, but also being the record that nearly bankrupted Creation Records. Over the course of three years, Shields went through dozens of engineers and set up shop in 19 different studios in an attempt to craft a perfect album. Label owner Alan McGee recalled to Spin in 1999: "I could see my label slipping away. I'd even mortgaged my own house. In the end, I had to emotionally blackmail Kevin to get him to finish."
  • Though the song opens with Colm O Ciosoig on the snare, the drummer was struggling with his physical and mental health and couldn't manage to play live on most of the album's other tracks.
  • Angus Cameron directed the music video, which incorporates performance footage along with close-ups of Butcher singing.
  • Canadian metal band Nadja included a slowed-down, digitally distorted rendition on their 2009 covers album When I See the Sun Always Shines on TV.
  • This was featured in the 1994 crime-comedy film Amateur, starring Isabelle Huppert and Martin Donovan.
  • This was the first MBV track to breakthrough in the US, where it peaked at #27 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

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