“Sonic Youth” by Sonic Youth - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1982 →Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s →

TJR says

Their first (mini) album statement arrived via Glenn Branca's Neutral label in March, 1982. They lined-up: Thurston Moore (23, guitar, vocals); Kim Gordon (29, bass guitar, vocals); Lee Ranaldo (26, guitar, vocals) and Richard Edson (28, drums). Note that the 'Youth' was always going to be a bit of a red herring. Being named after Fred 'Sonic' Smith and Big Youth and opening your debut with a song called “The Burning Spear” sends a promising signal - they're open to the wide world of music. Sonic Youth’s opening statement back to that world was, unfortunately, straight from the Gang of Four school of funky New Wave. To be fair, they plugged in the old Black & Dekker for added interest - it's not too shabby. We're then introduced to a dual vocal treat featuring Kim's sullen drawl contrasting Lee's plaintive delivery. “I Dreamed A Dream” was a slow burning bass rumbler, a gloomy and stark affair with an oddness in the chords and a set of lyrics which suit the disturbed tone: “The days we spend, go on and on, Shift, Fucking youth, Working youth”. Manifesto! James Brown meets Einsturzende Neubauten via Can in side one's polyrhythmic closer “She Is Not Alone”. Richard Edson: “I was trying to play like James Brown drummers, soft and so deep into a groove and hoping everyone else would approach it that way.” Listen out for Ranaldo throwing metal pipes onto the floor of the studio @ 1:51 & 2:08. Those random clink-clanks are of the Lee Perry variety; they’ve got ideas to explore. Coming on like some kinda avant-garde Pigbag, “I Don’t Want To Push It” does its damndest to get you in a funky dancefloor trance, before leaving you standing there looking foolish for 30 seconds of nowt-but-shimmer at the finale. Eight minutes are invested into “The Good And The Bad” to close the album, another “statement”, as the quartet “express” themselves in an progressive wig-out which will appeal to the Van der Graaf old skool.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:28] 5.9.png Sonic Youth - The Burning Spear (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Edson) New Wave
A2 [05:12] 7.2.png Sonic Youth - I Dreamed I Dream (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Edson) Moodcore
A3 [04:06] 6.6.png Sonic Youth - She Is Not Alone (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Edson) Trance Rock
B1 [03:35] 6.0.png Sonic Youth - I Don’t Want To Push It (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Edson) Post-Punk
B2 [07:55] 5.4.png Sonic Youth - The Good And The Bad (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Edson) Prog

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved