Born in the United Kingdom in the late 80’s, shoegazing never reached the highs of rock n’roll and neither did it plummet to the lows of pornogrind (yes, it’s a thing). A derivative of alternative rock, shoegazing always oscillates in the middle of the musical spectrum and has consistently managed to stay away from the mainstream pop culture, targeting a very specific set of audience instead.
The distinctively unique sound of the genre features incredibly creative guitar effects that blends with the homogenous vocal melodies producing a very ambient, atmospheric and conciliating effect on the brain.
If you are new to the genre then here’s something to get you started as we list our top 5 shoegazing albums.
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, My Bloody Valentine spent two meticulous and pedantic years in a whopping 19 studios, nearly pushing their record label Creation into bankruptcy before producing their iconic genre defining album called Loveless.
Released in 1991, instead of topping charts and selling records by the golds from day one, Loveless’ influence grew over time and is widely regarded as the best shoegazing album of all time.
Slowdive – Souvlaki
Released in 1993, Souvlaki was Reading rockers Slowdive’s second full length studio album. Although still receiving mixed reviews from critics, Souvlaki has over the years solidified its position in the genre’s major hits collection.
The album failed to garner mainstream success in the United Kingdom, as the rise of Britpop and bands like Oasis & Blur coupled with the rapid decline of shoegazing, overshadowed any hope for global recognition for arguably the band’s best work till date.
Ride – Nowhere
Nowhere was Oxford outfit Ride’s first full length album. Released in 1990, it features eight glorious tracks including its number one hit Vapour Trail. Sung by Andy Bell, who would later go on to play bass from Oasis, the song was critically acclaimed by numerous publications.
Often described to be drawing inspiration from My Bloody Valentine, Ride’s sound on this record is widely considered to be ‘a bit rockier than The Stone Roses’. Pitchfork Media named it among the top 100 albums of the 1990’s.
Lush – Spooky
Spooky is Lush’s first full length album. Produced by the legendary Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins in 1992, Spooky topped the national Indie charts and also reached the British Top Ten.
The album features a varied range of guitar effects, quite similar to Cocteau Twins which is understandable considering who produced the album. Although Guthrie’s production on this album was criticised for fiddling with the band’s original sound, the album did impressively well on the charts.
Chapterhouse – Whirlpool
One of the best works this genre has ever witnessed, Whirlpool encapsulates all the quintessential characteristics required to become a shoegazing success. Released in 1991, the album peaked at 23 in the UK charts.
Pearl, the second track on the record, features guest vocals from Rachel Goswell of Slowdive.