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Band: Sonic Youth

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Sonic Youth?

CRAP
45
15%
NOT CRAP
249
85%
 
Total votes : 294

Postby Peripatetic on Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:26 pm

I agree that Murray Street is awesome. I like Sonic Nurse better, I can't say enough good things about that record. I was a little hesitant of Murray Street at first. I was afraid I'd like it simply because they could have released a piece of shit in the shape of a record in a nice 12" sleeve and I would have like it better than NYC Ghosts..., but yeah, it's a great record.
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Postby John W. on Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:47 pm

Sister is one of my favorite records of all time. After that, they kind of lost me... though I grew to appreciate Daydream Nation as the years went by. Evol, Confusion is Sex, Bad Moon Rising all rock pretty hard. Not crap.
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sonic leaves

Postby Domagoj on Tue Aug 16, 2005 1:00 pm

Peripatetic wrote:
Oh, and P.S.: I also realized I really funking love A Thousand Leaves.


Cool. It really is worth of some extra attention - perfect for a lonely Sunday afternoon in autumn. I can't understand how anyone familiar with Sonic Youth records from 1981 till right now can vote crap for "a thousands leaves". Elaborate, please. I mean certainly there are obvious lousy aspects of "Goo", "Experimental, Jet Set ..." & “NYC Ghosts and Flowers", even lack of content in perfect sonics of "Bad Moon Rising" but "a thousand leaves"! That's pure psychedelic bliss. What's wrong with "a thousand leaves"? I am puzzled. Ok, this is primarily subjective Universe. Everything is possible.
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Postby emmanuelle cunt on Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:20 pm

not crap with :WF: 0. too many great, exicting stuff over the years to even think about voting for crap. evol always ends up in my top5 albums of all times list, thousand leaves is not far behind. i was totally blown when i saw them live (in berlin on the murray street tour) - and honestly i had thought before the gig that i will be dissapointed as they are too old... eh... i felt really, really stupid after the show.

as for "it doesnt take a genious.." well maybe but how many bands there have their unique guitar sound? plus sy maneged to change their music alot during their career but you can still say it's them instantly when you hear a new song.


oh and the ATL: i understand why so many people do not like it as much as i think they should. the production is crappy, kim's voice is annoying as hell in at least two songs, songs are long and not catchy, it has noise or long instrumental sections all over it and did i mention that production sucks balls? i think many people would appreaciate this album alot more if they would have listened to it more carefuly, there is too many beautiful things going on there to deny.
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Postby Rotten Tanx on Tue Aug 16, 2005 5:29 pm

Not Crap. I remember listening to Sonic Youth on a bus journey once (daydream nation I think), many years ago, and looking out the window the music just fit perfectly with everything I saw in this beautiful/ugly city.
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Postby Bernardo on Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:19 pm

Not crap, despite the fac that I simply don't get the music they've been making for the last 12 or 13 years. I love the Evol / Daydream Nation period too much for CRAP.
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Re: not

Postby Mazec on Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:45 am

Mayfair wrote:"Sister" and "Evol" alone give them a teflon 'not crap' rating, no matter what else they do.

Not crap.


This is the correct answer. I would also add that Confusion is Sex has to be one of the most auspicious debuts ever (or 1st full-length album, more properly in this case), and the combination of that and Kill Yr Idols would already have cemented a permanent NOT CRAP rating in my opinion, even if everything they did after that sucked donkeys.

I think a better poll topic would be:

At what point did Sonic Youth start to head south?

I am guessing that a lot of purists will say that Daydream Nation was their last true blockbuster, that Goo was commercial fluff, that Dirty was their shot at grunge, etc, but in my view it took Sonic Youth a LONG TIME to really suck.

They languished in halfway decent mediocrity for a while with JEt Set and Washing Machine (both album I think are in the 30-50% good range with a lot of filler.... Skink, Self-Obsessed, Starfield ROad, etc. are real SY classics, while much of the rest of that album [Waist, Sweet Shine, Androgenous Mind, etc.] is totally boring.

Washing Machine, IMHO, is similar. No QUeen Blues, Skip Tracer, & Diamond Sea are all killers, but most of the album was uninspired and rehashed with some really terrible guitar overdubs to boot.

1000 Leaves to me is half good, half meh.

Anyway, it seems like Sonic Youth lost their grasp on what to do with noise. It seems like a lot of their songs at the beginning of the Geffen era
were written on the standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula with a 30-60 second noise jam thrown in in place of a solo.

More recently, is seems they just throw together songs without much consideration for effect, taste, and audience interest level, assuming that their records will be bought and their concerts attended based on their legendary status which they earned when they were truly pushing the envelope 20 years ago.

They still earn a firm NOT CRAP from me.
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Re: not

Postby Peripatetic on Thu Aug 18, 2005 11:08 am

Mazec wrote:I think a better poll topic would be:

At what point did Sonic Youth start to head south?


I don't think there's one specific point that SY "head[ed] south". I think there are a few times they've gone south, (i.e., Jetset and NYC Ghosts and Flowers) but shortly after, they came back north, (i.e., Washing Machine and Murray Street). I also think Sonic Nurse continued the journey northward, which brings me to the question I have:

I'm curious to hear some specific opinions on two records, Daydream Nation and Sonic Nurse.

Why is it that Daydream seems to be the favorite among most people? I think it's a great record, but it's far from my favorite SY record. Is it because of what it was for the time it came out? Is it just plain a great record? I'm not making an argument that it's not great or anything, I just want to hear what some people think. It just seems like everyone, whether you're a writer for Spin, a hardcore SY fan, or not even a fan agrees that Daydream is THE landmark SY record without having to explain why, just going with the general conensous thing. Kind of like Led Zeppelin IV or something. Maybe I'm wrong altogether and 10 people will respond saying they don't even like Daydream...I don't know, just curious.

I'm also interested to hear some more opinions on Sonic Nurse. I don't really see it mentioned much. It seemed like Murray Street gets talked about a lot because it was so much better than NYC Ghosts and Flowers (which seems to be a pretty hateable record), but Sonic Nurse seems to have kind of been lost in the shuffle which I think is a shame because I absolutely adore it. Every song on it is great. I can listen to it start to finish 10 times in a row. I was a little worried after NYC; Murray Street was great, but I was afraid it might be the last great one, and they would continually go south, so Sonic Nurse was big for me. There's not as much noisy and fucked up shit on it, but it's just such a solid rock record. If they stopped there (or put out a few more subpar records) I'd be content.
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Postby Mazec on Thu Aug 18, 2005 1:16 pm

Peripatetic made some good points there,

1. "I don't think there's one specific point that SY "head[ed] south".

and

2. " It just seems like everyone, whether you're a writer for Spin, a hardcore SY fan, or not even a fan agrees that Daydream is THE landmark SY record without having to explain why, just going with the general conensous thing"

please allow me to comment on both points:

1. I think it is also hard to nail down when (if ever) Sonic Youth started to suck. The point is completely subjective, and thus I think it would be a good discussion topic. Just to hear everybody's views. Obviously finding the 'truth' is not the point here. Also, I will agree that Nurse not only far exceeded my expectations, but earned my respect (for what it's worth) as a strong SY album in its own right.

2. I agree with Peripatetic completely that Daydream gets all the props from nearly everybody as Sonic Youth's moment of truth.

Like Mr. P., I don't totally get what the hubub about Daydream has been about, but it seems like everybody into underground/indie/alternative/whatever music has been creaming their pants over it for the past 16 years.

I must say that I have a little bit of personal beef with Daydream Nation, since I feel it concretely marked the band's departure into totally traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-noise jam in lieu of solo-verse-chorus song form, which it adhered to all the way up to A Thousand Leaves in 1998.

Furthermore, it introduced a marked decline in Sonic Youth singing and lyric standards with songs like "Total Trash," "Cross the Breeze," and dare I say it, even the much-lauded "Teenage Riot." Thurston's singing got stuck in a singsongy, monotonous routine, which he held solidly right up to about 2002 or so. Kim and Thurston also got stuck in an obligatory rhyme rut, which I feel they've never gotten out of.

The upside of that was that Lee ruled on Daydream, hitting 3 for 3 in my opinion, and his few vocal appearances on every album since have been consistently strong.

At any rate, I think that Sonic Youth lyrics were really evocative and powerful right up to Daydream Nation, where they took an abrupt turn for the prosaic. Evol and Sister were both in their entirety very strong lyrically (except Highway to yr. Skull, which I thought was a bit daft), I don't think anybody will argue with songs like Tom Violence, Shadow of a Doubt, Beauty LIes in the Eye, Stereo Sanctity, Catholic Block, etc, etc.

Furthermore, Evol, Sister, and the mighty Confusion is Sex (still my personal favorite) eschewed standard song forms, and songs would go any which way they pleased after the first couple verses. Daydream, on the other hand, follow a simple pop song format, and also tended to hold back on guitar noise laden throughout the songs, reserving it rather for half-baked noise jams where a solo would be in a regular radio rock song.

Anyway, it's still a good album, but to me it marked the end of SY's really vital, weird, and sometimes mysterious first 4 LPs.

I still like most of the shit they did since then, but their music has had way less depth in the last 10 years for the most part.

Rant over.
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Postby Peripatetic on Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:04 pm

Mazec wrote:Peripatetic made some good points there,


Thank you.

Mazec wrote:I will agree that Nurse not only far exceeded my expectations, but earned my respect (for what it's worth) as a strong SY album in its own right.


All this talk led me to their website where I found SN's description in the store:

After a solid twenty-three years of explosive creativity Sonic Youth throws down what may be their heaviest classic since their own genre-breaking Daydream Nation in 1988.

That's exactly what I don't get. It's almost as if the 90s didn't exist for SY, they didn't have a shot at topping Daydream, and if they did, who cares anyway "because Daydream's a classic". (I'm paraphrasing a quote I've seen 8 billion times in the last 15 years.)


Mazec wrote:I must say that I have a little bit of personal beef with Daydream Nation, since I feel it concretely marked the band's departure into totally traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-noise jam in lieu of solo-verse-chorus song form, which it adhered to all the way up to A Thousand Leaves in 1998.

Furthermore, Evol, Sister, and the mighty Confusion is Sex (still my personal favorite) eschewed standard song forms, and songs would go any which way they pleased after the first couple verses. Daydream, on the other hand, follow a simple pop song format, and also tended to hold back on guitar noise laden throughout the songs, reserving it rather for half-baked noise jams where a solo would be in a regular radio rock song.


I took it upon myself to change up the order of your post when quoting it. A lot of what you said here is a lot of what I was thinking. I agree that it marked a big change in their direction; a change that, as we've discussed wasn't exactly welcome. I don't mind the poppiness [insert better term] of the record, but I think that's part of what makes it subpar to me. Was Dirty they're best selling record? I know that's the one that probably gained the most outsider (READ: Nirvana) fans, but I think it's far less commercial sounding than Daydream. It would make sense to me if it was only casual music/SY fans and commercial-type critics that lauded Daydream as THE record (it was arguably the first one to feature a "hit" single, and inarguably the easiest listen up to that point), but the odd thing is, considering it's poppiness [see above], it seems that even hardcore fans of the SYR series (which contains some arguably unlistenable music) praise it the same.

Mazec wrote:The upside of that was that Lee ruled on Daydream, hitting 3 for 3 in my opinion, and his few vocal appearances on every album since have been consistently strong.


I'm glad you brought this up. Mainly because I want to say that I always love the Lee songs. I know that's an issue of debate between SY fans, and it seems to lean more in favor of shutting him up, but I'm all about LR. That's one of the high points of Daydream for me.

What was that you said about a rant?


EDIT: After posting the link to the Favorite SY vocalist poll, I went back and looked at it and saw that Lee won in a landslide. Maybe I was wrong in my assumption that Lee loses out. I was going on the fact that friends who I've had actual conversations about it with seem to prefer Kim or Thurston, and the fact that Lee doesn't get more than a song or two per record which by default makes me root for him. Anyway...
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Postby a. james on Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:45 pm

i vote crap.

i find their most rocking moments to still be kind of limp. i find their most non-rocking moments to be really pretentious. the noise, the voices, the thousands of guitars, the playing guitars w/ drumsticks, screwdrivers, etc.

this band was the one band everyone in my band but me liked. they wanted to cover "100%." i went out of my way to not learn it so that we could not cover it.

maybe i just don't like the bassplayer. for me that's enough.

i do like rapeman's take on "schizophrenia" though. see: "kim gordon's panties"

and that song, "i love her all the time" with "not right" playing/skipping in the background. 100% crap.
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Postby Marsupialized on Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:00 pm

that damned fly wrote:i vote crap.

i find their most rocking moments to still be kind of limp. i find their most non-rocking moments to be really pretentious. the noise, the voices, the thousands of guitars, the playing guitars w/ drumsticks, screwdrivers, etc.

this band was the one band everyone in my band but me liked. they wanted to cover "100%." i went out of my way to not learn it so that we could not cover it.

maybe i just don't like the bassplayer. for me that's enough.

i do like rapeman's take on "schizophrenia" though. see: "kim gordon's panties"

and that song, "i love her all the time" with "not right" playing/skipping in the background. 100% crap.


Find Cat Powers's version of 'Schizophrenia' it's pretty fucking rad.
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Postby a. james on Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:39 pm

Marsupialized wrote:Find Cat Powers's version of 'Schizophrenia' it's pretty fucking rad.


will do.
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Postby Marsupialized on Sat Aug 20, 2005 8:40 pm

that damned fly wrote:
Marsupialized wrote:Find Cat Powers's version of 'Schizophrenia' it's pretty fucking rad.


will do.


It's called 'Schizophrenia's dragged me down' and it's on her peel sessions
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Postby run joe, run on Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:21 pm

This is weird, I was gonna search this one out tonight. I was gonna search it out and vote CRAP.

Every single one of their records sounds weedy as fuck. None of them sound loud or lively or exciting. The band seem to have no dynamics in their composition or performances whatsoever. For all the talk of fantastical guitar tunings and unusual approaches, their guitars all sound remarkably fucking similar to me. The singing is bland, the melodies are uniformly dull. Their records are boring, without exception. Their fans are annoying. The band look annoying. They have cringey scenester videos populated with whoever they can cram in that's hip at the time (fashionable skaters; Chuck D) or that displays some forlorn attempt at obscure cult-indie cred or - even stupider - good looking model types. Their academic, theoretical wankiness eclipses any balls or guts their music might have possessed. They are annoying in interviews. Their records are weedy, which I already said. They have existed too long, they're shit live, and I think the reason all their guitars sound crap and feeble and muffled is because they play them UP THEIR OWN ARSES.

I want to change my vote to TOTAL FUCKING SHIT.

Sonic Youth are the American Smiths.

At the Sacred Cow Meat Barbeque, everyone will be choking on Sonic Youth burgers.

Goodnight.
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Postby sparky on Sun Aug 21, 2005 11:51 am

Not crap. I can get some enjoyment out of their weaker records, and their best records are among my favourites. They're a superb band, and wicked if you catch them on a good night.
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Postby a. james on Sun Aug 21, 2005 2:27 pm

run joe, run wrote:This is weird, I was gonna search this one out tonight. I was gonna search it out and vote CRAP.

Every single one of their records sounds weedy as fuck. None of them sound loud or lively or exciting. The band seem to have no dynamics in their composition or performances whatsoever. For all the talk of fantastical guitar tunings and unusual approaches, their guitars all sound remarkably fucking similar to me. The singing is bland, the melodies are uniformly dull. Their records are boring, without exception. Their fans are annoying. The band look annoying. They have cringey scenester videos populated with whoever they can cram in that's hip at the time (fashionable skaters; Chuck D) or that displays some forlorn attempt at obscure cult-indie cred or - even stupider - good looking model types. Their academic, theoretical wankiness eclipses any balls or guts their music might have possessed. They are annoying in interviews. Their records are weedy, which I already said. They have existed too long, they're shit live, and I think the reason all their guitars sound crap and feeble and muffled is because they play them UP THEIR OWN ARSES.

I want to change my vote to TOTAL FUCKING SHIT.

Sonic Youth are the American Smiths.

At the Sacred Cow Meat Barbeque, everyone will be choking on Sonic Youth burgers.

Goodnight.


more or less seconded.
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Postby AAAAAAAARGH on Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:02 pm

resounding not crap
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Postby AAAAAAAARGH on Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:25 pm

anyone have the reissues?
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Postby tommydski on Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:01 pm

i'd agree that they've never made a bad album as such.

and i think that they deserve kudos for the two flawless ones which are obviously 'evol' and 'sister'. i suppose lots of great bands only made two classic albums anyway.

the rest are all a mixed bag in my mind. they wrote some good stuff on geffen but after 'goo' they seem to have forgotten that the lo-fi engineering in their records was what made them so good. everything sounds too clean once they signed to a major.

my guess is that they were trying to update their sound like the fall but something was lost in the translation. speaking of which did anyone hear the peel session where they only played songs by the fall? here they are!
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