Sonic Youth sucks. They really haven't done a single thing that will ever qualify as music, believe it or not. Hell, even if you're desperate enough to sit there and recall every sad excuse for a song, you'll never come to an absolute conclusion (and seeing as you've checked every Sonic Youth song, you probably have no life). But don't take my word for it; Joe Satriani's hypnotizing bald shine is of wet dream status to me. That man can really handle his wood. But superawesome guitar hero fetishes aside (He's oh so super colossal
), this is a music review, despite actually reviewing this pathetic excuse for an album called Sonic Nurse
. Here's the story: Richard Prince, some painter dude that I don't really care about, got his paint on and came up with some sweet paintings. You dig? These paintings, revolving around nurse figures, ooze with warm colors and layers
of it, mish-mashing together to form this fuzzdrogynous, sedate atmosphere. Note: Dude Rance Nurse
is the sexiest one.
These quaint lil' paintings reflect the overall feel of Sonic Nurse
in a pretty typical way. No dude, really. Every song here is flooded with warm, and usually clean, guitars chiming and blending together, a firmly loose rhythm backing, and basically and overallily, the best songs that Sonic Youth have written since the days of Washing Machine
. One improvement noted often by other reviewers abroad is the return of Kim Gordon as a major contributor of songs that don't suck (cough"Plastic Sun"cough). Her songs here are some of the finest, including the relatively upbeat opener "Pattern Recognition", the viciously wonderful "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream", where over oddball sqeels and dissonant rumblings, she pokes fun (sarcastically) : "Maybe you need an emo boy" ; "How was yr. date with Eminem? Did he bake you and forsake you?". As far as sheer cutting goes, it's probably the best of lyrics on the album. Don't forget the waaaeeehhhrhhoooooohh!!!! sounds either. Kim also rocks the Earth in "I Love You Golden Blue", her best song since the other achingly beautiful "Little Trouble Girl" nine years previous.
This isn't to dismiss the rest of Sonic Youth in all of their sexy art noise guitar destroying glory, either. Actually there probably won't be any guitar destroying on these songs, wooooops. "Dripping Dream" is one of the most impressive outings on Sonic Nurse
, where cacophonous noise morphs into a sincere, oodles-of-woozy clean guitar meditation trips and back. Although the some parts may seem awkward in comparison to the ones that came before, the all somehow work out into one master plan of the song. "New Hampshire" rocks the jazz-like steady drum beat intro plenty of guitar overtones and loose but also structured melodies that weave in and out of the song. Not only that, but it's able to sport and awkard note pattern that flips the song into some other region (which also involves naming people like Johnny Winter, B.B. King). I'm sure it's about something, but who needs meaning when we can have *** like this? Ahhhhhhhh Lee Ranaldo!!! Yeah he has a song: "Paper Cup Exit". Once again, the mutations are present, and so is his world-of-calm vocals that are always of something to look forward to. Don't let Butch Vig hear this, though. The song goes from oozy pretty melodies to tense verse sections and somehow even more tense chorus sections and whatnot. Like many of the songs on Sonic Nurse
, it has a deft sense of dynamics and variation that keep every song interesting, something that not even Sonic Youth have been good at.
When I sit down to ponder different elements of Sonic Youth's career, one thing that remains clear about the "4th Level" of their careers is their sense of melodic ingenuity, which when added into their natural experimentations and other sense, makes one hell of a collection of songs. What best represents this stage of their career is the final two songs of Sonic Nurse
: "I Love You Golden Blue" and "Peace Attack". The former arrives with light drones and noises fluttering about, but then slowly persuades itself into a gorgeous, leaping, semi-ballad full of lyrics that sung as plaintively as they deserve to sound, thuogh bordering on nonsense: "I don't glitter like the stars above, I don't glow like neon alone"
. The importance isn't placed upon the lyrics, but more so on the feel they generate, a common thing throughout Sonic Nurse
and even Sonic Youth's career, baby. "Peace Attack" closes it all out, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. While Sonic Youth had flirted with some political and social ideas before, such as on "Flower" and "Youth Against Fascism" (actually, they did a lot), "Peace Attack" is perhaps the most poignant and meaningful of them all: "Nature sex yawn winking / Reminder / Of the great / Of the great anti-hate / Springtime is wartime / All eyes to the crimeboss"
. Thurston croons overtop calm guitar strums and reserved drums, sounding like Beck but with a few more years on his shoulders. And while the song never veers too far from it's chosen path, it rises and falls, as does the rest of Sonic Nurse
. It finds Sonic Youth as a band in it's proverbial comfort zone; a warm, almost natural place for the band, ironically enough. Hoepfully, they won't suck for too much longer.