Even though Sonic Youth didn’t use famed avant-garde music producer Jim O’Rourke on this album as in the past, John Agnello does a great job keeping the “Murray Street” and “Sonic Nurse” vibe continuing along…which is a good thing. No, which is a GREAT thing.
Thurston Moore, Kim Gordan, Lee Ranaldo, and last but not least, Steve Shelly create yet another great Sonic album, “Rather Ripped” which has Kim Gordan opening up with “Reena” – a song which has an anthemic chorus “You keep me coming home again!” that will help you remember how cool, sexy, and just plain great Kim Gordan is. Thurston…you’re a lucky man…
And on to you there Thurston…”Incinerate” is a great tune, but the last and the most mellow tune on the album “Or” just plain gets me with the last lyric… “what comes first, the music…or the words” as I imagine you’ve been asked that a billion times, but is also at the crux of your song writing…but most importantly the way you sing it closes out the album perfectly.
Lee Ranaldo gets some vocal action as always on a tune called “rats”. I’ve always loved Lee’s voice, textured guitar playing, and songwriting. There is no shortage of great lyrics, guitar playing, or song writing from Lee here…(or on any sonic youth album for that matter).
Steve Shelly’s drumming is solid all the way through and I’ve always enjoyed the low-fi drum recordings he gets…I’m not sure if it’s on purpose, an issue of being lazy in the studio, or just the opposite – many days of getting just the right drum tones, but they always work. The only thing is that I think it detracts from how good of a drummer Steve Shelly really is because when you see Sonic Youth in concert, Steve Shelly beats the living crap out of his kit and you realize that he is a much better player than you would think by just listening to the albums…but now that I think about it…that’s kind of how the whole band is. Sonic Youth is so great live…damn them for not playing until next April!
“Rather Ripped” is everything you would expect from Sonic Youth – Moody, Textural, Heavy, Inspiring, Intelligent, Lo-Fi, A little rough….and…Great. But I use these adjectives as they relate more to a “Murray Street” type vibe as I would to say “Sister”.
Here is a really great You Tube video where someone puts together Marilyn Monroe when she played the character of Sugar Cane with Sonic Youth’s “Sugar Kane” from the album “Dirty” – Very Cool (Check out the Sonic Youth forum… lots of good stuff on there). Oh, and go get the album!