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Murray Street

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Editors’ Notes

The yin-yang of Sonic Youth's career has always been a pull toward abstract avant-garde atonalities and a push toward conventional rock 'n' roll songwriting. Essentially, the band has forced rock 'n' roll to accept it as a logical expansion of the genre's definition; in return, it's earned fans who argue over which albums are the essential ones. A Thousand Leaves and NYC Ghosts & Flowers worked near the style of the avant-garde releases on Sonic Youth's own label imprint. Murray Street, with producer Jim O'Rourke officially joining the band as a fifth wheel, is gentler; it's the most accessible the band has been since Washing Machine or, perhaps, Dirty. "Rain on Tin" is a gorgeous, dry mix of guitars weaving without a need to break down into chaos. Lee Ranaldo's "Karen Revisited" has a nearly nostalgic tone before turning into a space jam. "The Empty Page" sounds like an indie-rock pop song from the early '90s. "Plastic Sun" and "Sympathy for the Strawberry" lead with Kim Gordon on vocals, with the nine-minute "Strawberry" best representing SY's signature style and sound. 

Customer Reviews


People like to say that the early SY records are, "obviously," the best. It' s hard to be a band that's been around for 20 some years and 15 some albums. The past becomes romanticized, good-natured historical revisionism sets in, the new albums can never live up to the glory of olden times, etc etc etc. Listen -- "Murrary Street" is one of the greatest Sonic Youth records ever. It's every bit as good as Sister and EVOL and DN. The songwriting is mind-blowing. It has a more free-form, jammy sound, but performed with incredible precision and attention to detail. "Rain on tin" is a hallmark in SY's legacy.


I've been a Sonic Youth fan since the release of Bad Moon Rising. For some reason I never got around to buying Murray Street but did to take away with me to the beach recently. From the very first listen I was in love with this album. Every single song. I know with some SY albums it takes a few listens to get into it, but not with this one. I love it. I almost got disappointed with Rain on Tin on the first listen, wondering how much better the song would be if they would just let loose and go off. But now I love it because they have it so subdued and wish they would make more music like this. Amazingly great album. Nice job!

Murray Street

One of Sonic Youth's best. A must have for any Sonic Youth fan. Not as well known, but atill a great amongst Goo, Rather Ripped, Daydream Nation, and The Eternal. Plastic Sun and Radical Adults are forgettable, but every other song on here is a great work of art. The Empty Page, DIsconnection Notice, and Rain On Tin are some of my favorite Sonic Youth songs. Karen Revisited is the midpoint classic 11 minute Sonic Youth noise inflicted thrasher, and Sympathy for The Strawberry is a nice way to cap off the album with a harmonious yet at times disfunctional 9 minute ballad. An awesome album with a few exceptions, one of my all time favorites.


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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