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Sonic Youth:: Rather Ripped (Album Review)

You keep me coming home again” sings Kim Gordon four seconds into the
new Sonic Youth album, Rather Ripped. And like every other Sonic Youth
adventure before, it does feel like home. You know it’s Sonic Youth,
it sounds like Sonic Youth, but this time it’s a different Sonic
Youth. A little older, a little wiser. I’m just gonna blurt this out,
this is the record Television should have made after “Marquee Moon.”
That’s a bold statement huh?

Well, let me back myself into a corner here….and get ready to
attack!

The guitar playing of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo is genius.
Bringing to mind the guitar antics of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd.
They never play the same thing. Choosing to texture the guitars
perfectly to create a dreamy atmosphere. One plays the rythm, while
the other plays the leads and fills. Kim Gordon is not Fred Smith,
although she does provide a steady bass and her singing has gotten
much better. In fact, she sings a good share of the songs on this
record, which I really like. she’s grown in to her voice as she’s
become older, reminds me of Nico, only better. Steve Shelley provides
the muscular backbeat the same way Billy Ficca did. So see, that’s not
really that far removed from the truth. And besides, who really liked
“Adventure” anyways? With that behind us, let’s talk shop…

Now here’s where I share the secret with you. This is a rock and roll
record. This isn’t Sonic Youth thumbing their noses at traditional
rock and roll conventions. This isn’t the youthful exubarance of past.
Gone is utility player Jim O’Rourke. I told you, this is a grown up
Sonic Youth. It doesn’t make the record bad though. In fact, this is
my favorite new Sonic Youth record since “Dirty. “Rather Ripped shows me a band that has been able to change, grow, and reinvent itself throughout a 25 year history. A collection of individuals with a common bond of making music, functioning as a whole, creating soundscapes for the future. Not too long ago, Daydream Nation was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of
Congress. Now What? Huh? See, the future!!!

From time to time, the old Sonic Youth shines through, especially on songs
like “Pink Steam” and “Jams Run Free.”Don’t let that fool you, there is no future without a past. Overall, his is an excellent record. All of the songs are great. “Rather Ripped” has moved on to my best of the year radar and made me a believer that Sonic Youth is still important today as they ever were.
(Review by:: Casey Schroeder)