Sonic Youth
Confusion Is Sex


3.5
great

Review

by Justin Swope USER (84 Reviews)
October 30th, 2012 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1983 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Confusion Is Sex is filled with unrelenting noise and disorder that cooperate in an unexpected manner.

Whenever I recall early Sonic Youth, there is one word that always comes to mind: unforgiving. This innovative noise rock band never pulled any punches, and Confusion Is Sex gave them the chance to punish the listener with loud and harsh music. However, beneath the album's ugly exterior, there is also creativity and originality. Confusion Is Sex turns its back on mainstream popular music and illustrates a struggling young group of musicians leaving an indelible mark on the world of underground rock.

There is no denying that this LP is murky and often quite challenging. The lo-fi production and the scarcity of "verse-chorus-verse" arrangements will not be incredibly inviting to the casual listener. However, the album's strengths creep out from behind the abrasive and mangled guitar and bass riffs. Sonic Youth strives to craft a chaotic sound, in which something is always intentionally askew, whether it is linked to the vocals, the chord progression, or the rhythm.

This is easily one of the band's noisiest albums. The guitar riffs are jarring, the percussion is grating, and the songs do not follow any logical pattern. From Thurston Moore's distorted vocals to Kim Gordon's ear-splitting shrieks, the album screams with belligerence. Gordon unleashes her rebellious attitude with "Making the Nature Scene", using piercing vocals to upset any form of order. The track makes a stellar entrance with a razor-edged riff that foreshadows the impending clamor. Sonic Youth advances through the LP with utter audacity, bombarding the listener with disturbing sounds that comprise a record of nonstop pandemonium. Taking advantage of its unpredictability, "Inhuman" establishes a frontal sonic assault with contorted vocals and an accelerating tempo. The track evades any form of comfort as Moore's voice becomes practically incomprehensible. The drums and guitars become inflamed until finally Moore lets out a painful cry.

As the band pushes through the LP, their vision becomes clearer and their identity materializes. Right off the bat with the opener "(She's In A) Bad Mood", Sonic Youth assert their command of their new discordant style with absolute force. On "Shaking Hell", they stray from what could have been a straightforward tune and transform the track into a caustic, unrelenting number. The song's change of pace augments the resilience of the percussion once Gordon takes the direction of the track into her own hands.

Despite the incessant bedlam produced by the off-key guitars, Sonic Youth harness these sounds to construct songs that are equally unorthodox and imaginative. For instance, "The World Looks Red" unfastens with a grotesque chord before melding a rapid bassline with jangling guitar. Additionally, "Confusion Is Next" opens with vicious, unpleasant guitars topped with Moore's perturbing lyrics. The LP's shortcomings stem from its struggle to sustain the same friction across all of the tracks. Some tracks, like "Protect Me You" become slightly repetitive and diminish the initial shock value of the album. However, there are no bad songs on this LP, and each song lends something intriguing to those who put forth the effort to find it.

Confusion Is Sex is unrefined, unsettling, and unpredictable. On this album, Sonic Youth displays their avant-garde brand of songwriting and composition. The music on Confusion Is Sex is certainly not for everyone, but those who can appreciate its values will be drawn to the innovative noise rock that the album boasts.

Favorite Tracks:
Making the Nature Scene
Inhuman
The World Looks Red
(She's In A) Bad Mood



Recent reviews by this author
Flying Lotus You're Dead!Alt-J This Is All Yours
Rustie Green LanguageCloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else
Liars MessThug Entrancer Death After Life
user ratings (261)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MrElmo
October 30th 2012


1955 Comments


finally a review for this

Cygnatti
October 30th 2012


21353 Comments


that album title is confusing

am I have sex already?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 30th 2012


6207 Comments


I've listened to this a couple of times, really strange stuff...

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

Winesburgohio
October 30th 2012


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

3rd favourite Sonic Youth, so goooood. Seeing that 3.5 is killing me

Can't fault you for the reviews quality though, outstanding stuff!

Digging: Vashti Bunyan - Heartleap

jtswope
October 30th 2012


2369 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hey i agree that it's definitely a solid album. thanks!

808muzik
October 30th 2012


955 Comments


Finally a review wooo

Digging: Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait

Graveyard
October 30th 2012


5759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this, bad moon and evol r da best

BlueInTheSoul
October 30th 2012


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*fanboy alert* love this band. pos

Winesburgohio
October 31st 2012


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'this, bad moon and evol r da best'

Lets not forget Daydream Nation and Sister but otherwise agreed 110%

sinsexsodomy
April 4th 2013


224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is good but I think the next 5,6 albums are much better imo.

wabbit
April 4th 2013


7012 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the best

VanSchuldiner
April 4th 2013


659 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pos'd nice rev/album

sinsexsodomy
April 4th 2013


224 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok upon digging my SY albums out and re-listening to them today, I think this is better then Bad Moon

wabbit
April 4th 2013


7012 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think it's better than daydream nation

YankeeDudel
April 4th 2013


9313 Comments


only heard this once. it was good. def underrated it seems. gotta hear again cuz band is top shelf

Digging: The The - Soul Mining

Winesburgohio
April 4th 2013


1041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is second to daydream nation to me but i can see how you'd prefer it. Sex is Confusion + Kill Yr Idols might be better actually

ApplicationToHeaven
April 4th 2013


1562 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

inconsistent

KILL
October 2nd 2013


71965 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

he told er so

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

MrElmo
October 2nd 2013


1955 Comments


Smart Bar 1985 >

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 2nd 2013


5643 Comments


best band



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy