Friday, February 17, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 254 Sonic Youth - Goo

Album - Goo
Artist – Sonic Youth
Key Players - Lee Ranaldo – guitar and vocals. Steve Shelly – drums and percussion Kim Gordon – bass and vocals. Thurston Moore – vocals and guitar
Produced By – Nick Sansano, Ron Saint Germain and Sonic Youth

Release Date – June 26, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Not really sure. Probably thought “I need to write something for another post”

Overview – This is the major label debut from New York based band Sonic Youth. This album is the bands sixth studio album and they were signed to Geffen after “Daydream Nation” was released in 1988. Critics and fans seemed to have found this to be a very accessible album from the alternative rock band. With the strength of the song “Kool Thing” the band would find a little chart success and crack the Billboard top 200 peaking at 96.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – On the lead off track “Dirty Boots” we slowly fade up to find a single guitar before Gordon gets going on the bass. Shelly starts to get the drums moving and Ranaldo and Moore join in. The vocals are hushed with Moore taking the lead. The band is tight and focused with Gordon really strong on the bass. No one player, other than Gordon, seems to really take off during the verses or choruses. About the 3 minute mark the band takes off and starts to have a noisy, fun jam. Each guitar takes off and the bass and drums rumble. It sounds like what older fans are used to, but the band comes right back after tearing it down. They continue until the track ends, and although it never gets frantic again, its a pretty solid session by the band. “Tunic (Song for Karen)” is a track about Karen Carpenter. According to notes its about her in heaven playing drums and meeting new friends like Elvis and Janis Joplin. The guitars at the start are really compressed and fire off one another. Shelley is quick to get things on task and the band plays for close to a minute before Gordon takes the vocals. Kim often “talk sings” but here deep voice is still unique enough to make it interesting. For the second week in a row we find J Mascis assisting in some way. He is on backing vocals on this track. Ranaldo and Moore found a real tight guitar sound and they use it often. A solid track. Shelley clicks off “Mary-Christ” and the band is off to the races. The song is fuzzy as expected, but the guitars and bass seem to be in tandem. The vocals have some compression and they use what sounds a little like a megaphone on parts. Clocking in at just over 3 minutes this is the shortest track so far on the record. As the track fades you can hear the start of the next track (Kool Thing) but it fades to silence. Perhaps the bands most well known song “Kool Thing” follows. Public Enemy member Chuck D guests on the track. The guitars on this track is what makes it for me personally, but the bass and drums are no slouches. Shelley is quick to show you that as he rumbles across his kit before the first verse starts. Gordon has the lead on this track. By the time Chuck D and Gordon have their banter mid song the pay off back to the music just explodes. The guitars are top notch, just firing off one another with big slides and screeching lines. The longest track on the album “Mote” follows. Clocking over 7 minutes the swirling guitars take center stage before the drums come up. Once again J Mascis helps with the backing vocals. Ranaldo take the lead vocal duties on the track and he sounds good. He seems to “sing” a little more than Gordon/Moore. Some of the vocals have effects placed on them, but he seems to have a decent range. The band, not to be outdone, play at a frantic pace at times and then seem to slow it down, to speed it up. This is a cohesive unit for sure. There is a longer “breakdown” mid song with Gordon repeating the same few deep bass notes and Moore and Ranaldo abuse their guitars. Mascis appears for the final time on “My Friend Goo”. Gordon has the lead vocal duties on this track and she seems to sing a bit more and you'll find her pushing herself in the range department at times. Moore tosses in a little vocal at the chorus, but its short. This is a straight up rock song, in and out in just over two minutes. “Disappearer” starts like many, a lone guitar making a lot of noise before the rest of the band comes in. The guitars again are the killer here, not as frantic on the track so it is a good change of pace. The track “Mildred Pierce” is named for the film of the same name. Gordon drops the opening bass riff before the others come in. This is one of the first songs the band ever wrote as a band and its nice to hear a clean well produced version of their early ideas. Until the completely absurd vocals come in the track is rather enjoyable. The screaming distorted mess is almost enough to get you to hit skip, but its over very quickly. “Cinderella's Big Score” sets the listener back in the mode of the album. Gordon has the vocals and she seems angry. Sure the music is energetic, but Gordon seems to particularly urgent on the track. “Scooter + Jinx” is a vocal free track that is just a lot of guitar noise. It's over at 1:06. Skip it. The album concludes with “Titanium Expose” the track has a similar structure of “Kool Thing” with its big guitars and booming drums. For me personally this is a great album closer. The band is loud but it is not this over bearing crazy feed back track. The guitars just stand out and Gordon has some nice bass fills. A very solid closer.

Where are they now? - The band is currently on an “indefinite hiatus”. Due in part to the separation of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. No new material is planned at this time.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have seen Sonic Youth live just two times. The first was part of Lollapaloosa 1995. July 25, 1995 at Great Woods/Tweeter Center/Comcast Center they played with Hole, Cypress Hill and others. I don't recall a ton of their set. The second time was opening for Pearl Jam at the same venue. This was August 29, 2000. They had a solid rocking set and during their set, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder sang praise to the band for their longevity. At the time Sonic Youth as on or about 20 years, and Pearl Jam just 10. The set was good albeit short due to it being an opening slot.

FDF Overall Take – Let me just put it out there, I am a far cry from an expert on the band. I'd say I am a casual at best fan. I was introduced to them with “Teenage Riot” and own that cd (Daydream Nation) and two others. I don't rush to play their music, I don't think of them often but being in the genre of the music I most listen to I hear them mention a lot and really should dive in more. The record as a whole is pretty easy to get in to. Kool Thing still gets radio play and the other tracks really are similar. It might not be for everyone, but this is a good record to start with if you are curious.

Official Site

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The album is still in print, you can get it here


At 1:09 PM, Anonymous bobby said...

ok carry on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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