In "Loveless," distortion is not merely an effect applied with the click of a pedal. It is instead the center and the circumference of the album’s sonic landscape. Guitars are tools used to forge a sound so large it might as well occupy physical space, a tone dense enough to send forth some semblance of gravitational pull. When it was released in 1991, the album embodied a logical conclusion of rock and roll music.
Twenty-two years have passed. Michael Jordan is now nearly half a century old. Still, the sheer sonic force of "Loveless" remains unmatched.
That’s not to say nobody has tried. "Loveless" has had an enormous influence on a generation of musicians, including the Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and just about any indie rock band to play music post-1991.
Even Kevin Shields, the band’s enigmatic frontman, has trembled at the prospect of following an album that often ranks towards the top of “greatest albums of all time” lists.