Sometimes obssessions can turn into weird affairs. Mark David Chapman comes to mind. Then again, so do the members of Sonic Youth, who by the mid '80s were infatuated with Madonna, the reigning pop queen of the time. Then again, you can't blame them; everyone loves watching pop singers dancing around to jaunty little tunes like "Like a Virgin" and such and such. The Whitey Album
is also an off-hand reference to the band's desire to cover The Beatles' self-titled album in it's entirety, something that I would truly love to hear.
These ideas can be found as early as March 1986, during the recording sessions of EVOL
, where Sonic Youth intended a few tracks to be included on a Madonna tribute 7" that apparently never happened. However, as a result of the mad-scientist toying went on, we are left with one of the strangest and wonderfully useless albums of the 80s, The Whitey Album
The Royal Tuff Titty
Fly Fly Away
SS Beat Control
The basic sound of The Whitey Album
can only be summed up in a listing of crap contained within the songs: drum machines, beat boxing, freestyle rapping, noise collages, Madonna covers, rickety percussion, and general artistic hilarity. "Needle Gun" opens the album with percussive clanks, static, and tuneless mumbling, and is followed by a minute of silence appropriately listed as "(silence)". "G-Force", like many of the songs on the album, features Fly Fly Away's confusing psuedo-rants that are more artistically retarded than intelligent. "MacBeth" is well-constructed instrumental piece filled with guitar squeels and drum machine coolosity, almost as trippy as it is simple. "Children of Satan-Third Fig" proves to be twice as rockin' as the former, with hand claps and subdued, chiming guitars.
Stuff like "Hi! Everybody" and "Tuff Titty Rap" are pure genius
, whether it be weird 80s dance-pop-funk with helium talking or thirty second tittycore freestyle rapping. "Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening to Neu" is on par with these: Fly Fly Away and Suzanne Sasic (Sonic Youth's lighting director) talking about managing Dinosaur Jr. or Red Kross, but then moves on to a ripping guitar solo courtesy of J. Mascis and obscure dance-pop covered in obtrusive noises and static.
What may be the best thing about The Whitey Album
, though, is the inclusion of several covers, or interpretations, of Madonna, Sonic Youth, and Robert Palmer songs. "Burnin' Up" is a rockin' rendition of the Madonna tune, sounding like '80s ZZ Top on downers, while "Into the Groovey" is an insane rendition of the lady's "Into the Groove", perfectly composed with hit-hat shimmies, echoing handclaps, distorted gutiar, synthesizer, dollar store-megaphone vocals along with normal, ironic vocals, and samples of the original vocal scattered about. Pure, lovely trash. "Addicted to Love" is song by Fly Fly Away, recorded at a karoake booth in a shopping mall, contributing to the omnipresent amount of rulage that goes along with it. Let your imagination run wild on that one. "Making the Nature Scene" is a remix of the song present on Sonic Youth's Confusion is Sex
, with cheesy drum machines, turntable sratches, and a half-assed vocal performance perfect for such a half-assed album.
What is The Whitey Album
, anyway? Is it an injoke that people probably didn't get when it wa released, the worst album ever made, or the greatest album ever made? Well, it's none of those; if any, The Whitey Album
is pure bliss
, whether or not it's a pile of recycled rubbish or a genius, sarcastic, ironic, obsessive tribute to Madonna.