Sonic Youth
Rather Ripped


4.0
excellent

Review

by Two-Headed Boy USER (86 Reviews)
June 13th, 2006 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Sonic Youth are often credited with creating a special album. An album so amazing that it in fact remains one of the pinnacles of the eighties acheivements. Sonic Youth didn't just make an album, they pretty much made a generation of young punks out of the former clueless teenagers who didn't grasp whether or not punk had moved on. But they made an album..

Sonic Youth made Daydream Nation, one of mankind's greatest achievements.

But let's move on. SY have put out numerous albums since, most of which are at the least remarkably listenable, and some could match DN anyday. Though, after twenty-five years of appearing on everyone's favorite playlists, SY haven't evolved that much. They're still fighting the effects of aging, even if they are starting to dawn they're fifties. But here they are still, making incredible music.

They're newest release, Rather Ripped, is nothing short of a fantastic reminder that the Sonic Youth clan are still around and still making incredibly powerful and moving music. Even after twenty-five years they can manage the occasional punk explosion, though becoming somewhat scarce on they're newer albums. What's fantastic though, is they keep the music very interesting, and while there may not be that much variety on this album it shows that you can listen to the same kind of music a few times and not get bored in the least. Fantastic performances surface in songs that range from noise-rock to ballad-filled moan-fests, and even give a hint at experimental stabs at eighties punk.

The most undeniable song on here is the noise-rock conspiracy of Pink Steam, which is an entirely instrumental piece that ventures into the world of epic jams. The appeal of this song doesn't come immediatly, as for a little while it's just harmonics being plucked, but the song explodes into a very compelling and interesting jam with as many twists and turns as a jam could allow, while maintaining to keep they're focus on the main sound of the song, which appears to be a very sad and epic journey of sounds from the band. The lead performances from the guitars switch between simple and delicious, and the fuzz-drowned lead that can escape into some really awesome solos. When the vocals come in, it morphs into a very organized song, but it's very dark atmosphere stays as Thruston cranks out a bunch of meaningless lyrics. The lead guitar in the chorus is something of an amazing experience to listen to. What follows is the album closer, Or, which proves to be a ballad at heart but also maintains the passion of the Youths in a great amount. What emerges is a sole and undistorted guitar swarmed in a bevy of indian drums and a mellow and cool performance from Thruston. This song, though simple, emerges as nothing short as spectacular and is the perfect way to close an album of such variety that it can only seem like an essential track.

Incinerate is the quintessential nineties song, as it seems to rush through as many styles as it can. The soft and soothing guitars seem to duke it out just under the commanding howl of Thruston, who sings of, well, incineration. The music is really the highlight here, though, while it seems to hold the song together by managing to keep entertaining and interesting with their many different riffs and stylings. The drums seem to thump there way through the song, while adding many interesting fills and cymbal splashed melodies, and the bass, well, it just keeps on' keepin' on. Hearing the guitars rush throught such influences as Hawaiian chords and effects to eighties-era post-punk riffs that are blasted forward to seem modern, hell even futuristic. Same goes with the Kim Gordon led The Neutral, which switches between nineties-dwelling sounds, while the song also gets seemingly launched into the future with it's very soothing and calm guitars in the verse, and it's almost Stairway to Heaven kind of chorus, but without the cheese. And it also adds a killer lead riff over the otherwise boring chord sequence. This song is quite an example of what Sonic Youth are capable of in terms of welding two somewhat different things together.

The somewhat brilliant song Do You Believe in Rapture" relies on both sonic noises and amazingly variable guitar harmonics. When Thruston is singing, you can't help but feel his pain, though he doesn't seem to be singing about anything painful in particular and sounds actually quite nice. But what makes this song incredible is the complete relaxability and the shifting moods of the guitars, which range from simple and elegant to fierce and still quite fascinating at the same time. This recurs throughout the album, and while it's still quite awesome to listen to, none can quite measure up to previously said tracks. However, Turquoise Boy comes remarkably close, with it's upbeat backdrop set up with strange noises and the eventual coming of a pop song with an attitude, which then leads into a straight forward heavy rock song with little more than a rhythm guitar, a lead and a follow-ish rhythm section. While not always fantastic, it does it's purpose of serving up the groove.

What Rather Ripped serves up is a varied array of alt. rockers from one of the bands that helped define the genres of alternative and indie. And while this is no Daydream Nation, it still can fascinate viewers who are looking for a great time and want to reminisce about the past with the band, seeing as this album is a return to they're triumphant late eighties days. The revolutionary days. Sure, this isn't a perfect album, but the variety on this album will probably leave a few people unsatisfied just a little bit, but not enough that they can't enjoy this album. However, this is an amazingly solid release from a band who obviously haven't gotten boring after a quarter of a century. Just more of the same from one of today's and yesterday's top acts.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
metallicaman8
June 13th 2006


4677 Comments


Your reviews consistently kick ass.

Hatshepsut
June 13th 2006


1997 Comments


Nice. I must get this, I'm just getting into Sonic Youth. Great review, as usual.

masada
June 13th 2006


2733 Comments


How can you kids write so much.

Two-Headed Boy
June 13th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You should talk, mr. 100.

JohnXDoesn't
June 13th 2006


1354 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Been listening to this for about a week now. It's a good album. Right up there with some of their better work. Good to see the old folks still have it in them....This Message Edited On 06.13.06

ihatemybass
June 14th 2006


34 Comments


What a lousy cover........
O well. I will, check this out.

Wane
June 15th 2006


15 Comments


it came out today, shame on all of you who riped it off the internet. :p

masada
June 15th 2006


2733 Comments


Actually it came out two days ago.

Zmev
June 15th 2006


983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still trying to figure out a rating for this. I've listened to it through 3-4 times. It'll probably be in the 4 range.



The first half of the album is really strong, but after "rats" it sounds like "oh wait, we're post-2000 Sonic Youth, time to jam!"This Message Edited On 06.15.06

Foreskin Fondler
June 15th 2006


279 Comments


Sonic Youth blow

oh yeah, well......your mom blows.

masada
June 15th 2006


2733 Comments


Don't steal my jokes, boy.

I'll probably be getting this within the next few days.

menikmati
June 15th 2006


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I found this album quite boring.

francesfarmer
June 17th 2006


1477 Comments


This was a huge, huge letdown. I usually like SY, alot. I couldn't get into this at all. Think its time for them to let go.

metallicaman8
June 17th 2006


4677 Comments


"Don't steal my jokes, boy."

"Your mom" jokes are as old as jesus, you can't claim that their yours. Although, you do use them the more than most people.

The Jungler
June 17th 2006


4826 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This was a pretty big letdown, the first half is good, but the last half is kinda.... bad. Bangin' review as always.

masada
June 19th 2006


2733 Comments


Why oh why does this have to have such a bad title

Two-Headed Boy
June 22nd 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dunno, but I'm probably the only person who has massive respect for this album. Aw, well, it's cool to be different.

pulseczar
June 22nd 2006


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ELIMINATOR FAILS AT SOMETHING BIG SURPRISE

Two-Headed Boy
June 22nd 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You failed at...your mom! :cool:



/Eliminator line.

STLMiguel
June 22nd 2006


335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just heard some of it and it sounded pretty good. I'll try to buy it after I get paid. Straight cash, homies!



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