Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped Review

Link: Sonic Youth
Insanely generous set of live mp3s with many of this album’s songs

The Inside Pulse:
Despite the deep reverence for this band held by the cognoscenti and inspired followers, Sonic Youth hasn’t ever really recovered commercially from a bad follow up (Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star) to a run of loved but small scale indie classics (EVOL through Dirty). When the world was watching, Sonic Youth fell down.

You can feel the indie community standing by to shout “Sonic Youth” from the mountain tops the instant an album comes along that combines all of the band’s charms (rough edges, experiments aplenty and the unwavering cool) with a commonly palatable set of tunes. A few have jumped the gun with each release over the past 10 years and there will be some who will decide this is the time (seven minute plodding instrumental and all), but it’s not. It’s not even a very good Sonic Youth album for the purists — and not just because the rough edges are traded for a rural peace that isn’t particularly satisfying. Maybe next time, when they are finally free of the Geffen contract.

– Sonic Youth deserves a bigger audience than it has, and this album has a handful of very good songs that should keep the majority of fans happy while winning enough converts to replace those that get turned off.
– There is progress being made here, and I have to add here that I’m glad Jim O’Rourke’s gone. This disk shows a Sonic Youth comfortable with it’s age and talent.
– There’s no selling out for this band. It keeps marching on with integrity and the artist’s constant curiosity in tact.
– “Reena” and “Incinerate” deverve some radio play and will likely get it.

– There are some very skippable songs. This is not gospel. It’s an interesting disk from an interesting band and that’s about it.
– The band didn’t really replace the energy with anything else. It’s just quieter, and while that’s an interesting change, it would have been far more interesting if there was something else going on thematically or musically.
– This is an ultimate headphones disk. The perfect listener for this album is someone sitting arms and legs akimbo in the middle of their room scouring the cans for every whisper of a noise. There’s a ton of texture for those people to find, but that doesn’t stop it from being kind of sad.

Washing Machine with REM’s Murmur

Reason to buy:
A slightly less acidic Sonic Youth sounds like a treat.