Rather Exhilarating

The best band in the universe do their Brecht thing with hooks

Sonic Youth have certainly written lyrics that stick—for my taste, most often about music ("Dirty Boots," "New Hampshire") or politics ("Kool Thing," "Youth Against Fascism"). But where their opposite numbers Yo La Tengo put Ira and Georgia's love life on the public record, Sonic Youth don't seem to sing about Kim and Thurston. It's that Brechtian distance thing again, magnified by vocal deficiencies they play as strengths. Does Kim have a girlfriend on the side? Is her "What a waste/You're so chaste" directed at "Turquoise Boy"? How about Thurston's "Sleepin' Around"? In the end, I don't much care. What matters to me is how these unresolved intimations are allayed and disarmed by the uncharacteristic lightness of music that nevertheless gets strange when you listen hard.

Edges dull; the shock of the new gets old. But great bands keep creating from what they know, and figuring it out as they do. Try to see 'em at CB's Tuesday. They'll come up with something you don't expect, guaranteed.


Sonic Youth play CBGB with Tall Firs Tuesday, June 13. Sold-out as hell.

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