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Rather Ripped (iTunes Version)

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Editors’ Notes

Stripped back down to a quartet after a few years with fifth member Jim O’Rourke adding an extra layer of dissonance, Sonic Youth recharge with their most conventional, rock-based album since 1992’s Dirty. In fact, many of the tracks with their shimmering guitars and easy, hummable cadences could be considered outright “pretty,” a term virtually foreign to their abrasive, challenging 25-year catalog. With the noise factor seriously muted and their experimental instrumentalism curtailed – only two tracks exceed the five minute mark, “Turquoise Boy” and “Pink Steam” — Sonic Youth rely on their clairvoyant sense of each other, coasting on easeful rhythms and an interlocking two-guitar attack that weaves arpeggios and powerchords seamlessly. They could do this in their sleep and the dream-a-delic qualities of the material suggest they were aiming for a low buzz. “Incinerate” and “What a Waste” work these subtle textures, kept in check with vocals that like early REM act more as another instrument in the mix than as a call to arms. Even when addressing the world (“Do You Believe in Rapture?”), it’s with hearty melodicism.

Customer Reviews

Most Memorable Album to date

I dont suppose many critics are doing backflips for SY's new album, and I dont blame a lot of them. The reality is, this is an album for SY fans, not for critics. I found myself falling in love with tracks like Sleepin Around and Pink Steam, due largely to the amazing "jam" based guitar playing. The opening to Pink Steam is so powerful and groovy, that when we jammed this in the car, everyone nodded in approval. I think this album is a classic SY album. It's certainly more appetizing than a lot of the later stuff, and I can't wait to see them in concert. This is a good album, don't be fooled by the critics.


The three words I would use to describe this album are groovy, delightful, and splendid! Plus, my quite hip teen grandchildren think it's cool as ice, so I find joy in listening to it. I mean, grannies can be hip too, so we have to be up to date with our music! As you may have noted, I am very up-to-date-with my slang terms as well. One look in my wardrobe and you know i'm cool. So trust me, when I rate music, it has a lot of meaning. And to all you Sonic Youth fans, rock on!

Nothing incredible, but just what I needed...

Back in 1993, Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation helped me survive my freshman year at Michigan State University. Surrounded by people I couldn't connect with, classes well-above my head, and hiding beneath my head phones, SY gave me the courage to deal with the day. Now, dealing with my freshman year of Suburbia and 3 kids, SY just might get me through another tough period. Nothing too shocking here, but well worth the listen. Great garage cleaning music. Particularly enjoyed Reena, Neutral, and Pink Steam.


Formed: 1981 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sonic Youth were one of the most unlikely success stories of underground American rock in the '80s. Where contemporaries R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü were fairly conventional in terms of song structure and melody, Sonic Youth began their career by abandoning any pretense of traditional rock & roll conventions. Borrowing heavily from the free-form noise experimentalism of the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, and melding it with a performance art aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk avant-garde,...
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