Review Revue: Sonic Youth – Goo


Ah, Goo. In 1990, when this album was released and I heard it for the first time (shout-out to my hometown station, WHRB!), I was between 8th and 9th grade, and was preparing myself to enter a new world; a bigger, scarier, more complicated world: Public High School. I had no knowledge of Sonic Youth‘s indie past, or the fact that this was their first major label album, and many of their devoted fans were worried about whether their sound could survive the band’s move to the bigger, scarier, more complicated world of Major Label Music. It’s been a while since I last listened to this album (I’m listening to it right now for the first time in years), but it holds a special place in my heart, being the first Sonic Youth album I heard, and one of the first albums to usher me into the world of swirly, distorted guitars, hallucinatory lyrics and sonic experimentation of which I am so happily a citizen now. But enough about me; how did the KCMU heads react to Sonic Youth’s first major label release?

“Major label!? What major label? ‘Mary Christ’ cranks, as does ‘Titanium Expose.’ Quite a major league cover, too. P.S. The inner groove on side two makes for fun reading. [Crap, I didn’t check that out while I was at the station!]”

“Side 1 inner groove reprises ‘No Sleep at All’ — Motorhead.”

“Oooo yes!”

“Their best since EVOL! Fantastic!”

“JESUS! This is good! Try ‘Cinderella’s Big Score.’

“‘Scooter and Jinx’ is like being on a Vespa going 90 and having your head bashed in like a crash test dummie — totally sketchy!”

“This is WONDERFUL but it’s getting played into the ground!”

“On CD.”

“ROX — a record so good you’ll forget the fiber. [Ahh, that’s a nice little dated pop culture reference!]”

“‘Dirty Boots’ kills! This entire disc jams. All songs are tight and focused. Do yourself a favor and buy this, or at least play it a lot.”

“‘Titanium expose’ — YUM!”

“So fine! Play this one before always!”

“‘Tunic.’ Kim sings. Dan likes.”

“‘Dirty Boots’ also clear cuts my brain. Live, I felt it all. Whoa!”

“Boring. [Well, we had to have at least one naysayer, right?]”

“Records like this prove that at times it doesn’t matter if it’s on a major or an independent. All that matters is that it is available.”

“The only thing I’ve ‘heard’ from this is ‘Kool Thing.’ It was awesome. And the packaging is amazing. From the Velvets ‘On the Road’ Pettibon cover to the color Beefheart/Ziggy glam pixs on the inside. Fuckin’ right on.”

“H – and not ‘just because this is a Sonic Youth LP.’ They’ve changed in a positive way. Goo is on the same level as their landmark LPs Bad Moon Rising and EVOL. Sonic Youth seem heavily influenced these days by the McDonald bros. aesthetics. The only songs I didn’t like are 1.2 + 2.1.”

“You must be talking about 1-2 on some other record. ‘Tunic’ is GREAT, but not obvious.”

“I agree.”

“I like ‘Dirty Boots’ (glam rave-up) & ‘Mildred Pierce’ (short driving instrumental) best. All are good! ‘Tunic’ is an interesting take on the Karen Carpenter story. ‘My Friend Goo’ is the only thing here that feels like a throwaway. I wish this was on an independent label… but it’s not, and I love it anyway. Glad to see Kim singing lead on so many of the tunes here — she just gets better & better as a vocalist.”

“MOTE! MOTE! MOTE! Lee’s only vocal contribution is a fabulous one!”

All right, it’s (almost) unanimous, then: Goo rules. Sonic Youth for the win!

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  1. Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    It’s nice to see they still get love

  2. Katy
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Great one!
    I love this album.

  3. Posted March 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    even after all these years, it’s all about ‘Mildred Pierce’!
    never fails to make me smile…

  4. kodj
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Hi Lucy – thanks for hipping me to KEXP – I have to listen to Kool Thing at least once a week – I bought this album the day it came out and it has remained true to me since. so I don’t wanna – I don’t think so – what are you gonna do to liberate us girls (and boys) from white male corporate oppression? Love you Timmy

  5. Damon Creed
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    All hail the Yoof! Here we are in 2009 and mere weeks away from the release of their latest album. Eternal indeed.

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