Jealous Haters Since 1998!
Home | News | Reviews | Day In Rock | Photos | RockNewsWire | Singled Out | Tour Dates/Tix | Feeds
Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped Review

by Patrick Muldowney

Since turning thirty-one recently, my wife had to remind me that I am now "in my thirties", not just thirty. This may be true, but as a music listener I feel like a high school kid, or actually like I'm back in high school, as I've spent most of this year getting reacquainted with the bands I loved in high school. I remember when Goo arrived in the mail from Columbia House, feeling like the coolest outcast on earth from the first listen. This adoration continued on through Experimental Jet Set…, and began to fizzle with Washing Machine, completely extinguishing with A Thousand Leaves, which lacked the raw energy I had associated with SY. Rather Ripped brings back thoughts of those nostalgic albums that kept company to so many Generation Xers.

This latest album ended my biggest question with the first song: Can I stand Kim Gordon's voice? This is an issue that changes from album to album in a very love/hate way. Her screaming voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, whereas her breathy voice is textured with a strain that makes me believe her lungs are like bags of Kingsford charcoal, but pleases my ears. "Reena" puts that fear of hate to rest. She is reminiscent of a queen bee leading the sonic swarm, as Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore attack the strings in the same jaw-dropping manner I witnessed live at Lollapalooza over a decade ago.

"Reena" surprisingly becomes a warm-up for one of the best pop rock songs Sonic Youth has written, "Incinerate". It's two minutes longer than the average listener's attention span, being five minutes long, but the time moves much quicker than the repetitive three-minute crap we've come to accept, and expect. Both Moore and Ranaldo have the talent of mixing guitar lines and chords seamlessly into melodies, and this does not divert from the overall sound, but definitely presents a musical superiority over bands dependent on structural changes for such movement. The mixture is symphonic for this tune, which might require four quality guitarists to replicate. Moore delivers his verbal angst with his usual calm tone, making him as likely to sing about meeting a pleasant young lady he can't forget as the actual lyrics about "ripping hearts out" and the misery of destroying another while being destroyed. "Incinerate" also has those aptly placed chords distorting out circa Pete Townsend, which is perfect for any song that exemplifies rock.

"Jams Run Free" delves a little more into the experimental side, which is always expected of Sonic Youth. The dissonance at the beginning gives the illusion of the guitar being out of tune with the bass, but in such a subtly intended way that the ears notice without forcing the mouth to grimace. Gordon delivers a "Bull in the Heather" type voice, which plays perfectly along with the darker music. Words like "jagged brain/slow refrain" create fragmented images which form complete ideas when she whispers, "I like the way you move/I hope it's not too late for me." Midway through the song all lyrics dissipate, leaving the final two minutes for feedback that circles back into the original progressions. There was a point, as a SY fan, that I started believing their music was more enjoyable for them, as musicians, than the rest of us, as listeners. "Jams Run Free" is indicative of this opinion no longer having relevance, as the song clocks in under four minutes, while building up to that end, rather than ending long before the noise stops.

Once again proving the value of this product, Rather Ripped saves its best, and longest, song for Track 11. "Pink Steam" is Sonic Youth at its finest, delivering a long intro that only guitarists like Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo can even conceive. With lyrics absent for the first five minutes, the guitars arrive on the horizon with a vintage Fender reverb driven by a solid rhythm that moves the ankles before spreading to the head. You absolutely want to drive through a city at night with this blasting. In fact, a couple weeks ago, when I went to see a band of musical masturbators imitate Yes until I actually fell asleep standing in the crowd (never thought that possible), upon leaving I immediately threw this song on to stave off the nausea. Thurston Moore enters lyrically in a moment similar to "Ono Soul" to say he's "come by to run you over". I would have appreciated him running over Aloha the other night, that's for sure.

Rather Ripped is the best release of all the bands surfacing from my teenage years. In reality, they never went anywhere, but if, like me, you've lost contact with their happenings, this is the album for which you should reconnect. If you've been a fanatic all along, pat yourself on the back for not losing faith. And finally, if you're young and impressionable, like I once was, let this be the album that convinces you that you are cooler than everyone else, and let this be your portal to an incredibly distinguished rock band.

CD Info and Links

Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped


Preview and Purchase This CD Online

Visit the official homepage

More articles for this artist

tell a friend about this review



News Reports
• Day in Rock:
Black Sabbath Star Reacts To Ozzy's Bad Vibes Comments- Slipknot May Make Knotfest A Touring Festival- Ace Frehley Streams New Song and Announce Special TV Appearance- more

• Day in Pop

• Yesterday's Day in Rock: Taylor Swift Reveals Her Mother Has Cancer- Rich Homie Quan Surrenders To Police Over Alleged Nightclub Assault- Justin Bieber Duets With Ariana Grande- Mumford & Sons- more

 Subscribe To Day in Rock


• Ladies Only: Jennie Abrahamson- Rachel Garlin- Nneka- More

• Album of the Week: Led Zeppelin's When The West Was Won

• Karyn Crisis' Gospel Of The Witches - Salem's Wounds

• The Blues: John Mayall's Bluesbreakers- Arlen Roth, Mike Henderson Band- Slam Allen

• Trauma Interview

• December in Red - The Way Out

• Battleaxe - Power From the Universe Reissue

• SOKO Interview

• The Compulsions - Dirty Fun

• Rock Reads: Morbid Tales! A Tribute to Celtic Frost

• Death Penalty - Death Penalty

• On The Record: The Wild Beyond

• RockPile: Minutian- Odin's Court- THEO

• Michael Ubaldini Interview

• Root 66: Cameron Mitchell- Stacy Jones- Greg Shirley


Search for Tickets

Or Browse For Tickets

Today's Rock News

• Ozzy Sets Home On Fire

• Santana, Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie Reunite at Journey Show

• Ted Nugent's Wife Arrested

• Iron Maiden Tops Billboard's Hot Tours Chart

• Pop Star Fergie Names Son After Guns N' Roses Frontman Axl Rose

• Jack White Recording New Songs With The Dead Weather

• Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington Reveal EP Details

• The Who Releasing Massive Super Deluxe Edition of Tommy

• Paul McCartney Talks New Song and His Plans Never To Retire

• August Burns Red Announce Special Screening of Documentary

• The National Curating Grateful Dead Tribute Album

• KISS' Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons Announce Book Signings

• Mike Portnoy Reveals Full Progressive Nation At Sea Lineup

• Saxon's Biff Byford Explains Evil Look Was Down To Illness

• Astrid Kirchherr's Early Beatles Photos To Be Exhibited Next Month

• Gene Simmons and Engelbert Humperdinck Footage Goes Online

• Red Fang Streaming New Song ' Blood Like Cream' Online

• Sammy Hagar Compares Les Paul Guitars To Muscle Cars

• What Do Crocheting And Rock 'N' Roll Have In Common? Deap Vally

• Classic Rock Going Country

Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email

Today's Pop News

• North Korea Reportedly Execute 12 Musicians

• Jay-Z Releases Holy Grail Video Featuring Justin Timberlake

• Big Sean in Fall Out Boy's New Video

• Thousands of Justin Timberlake Fans Flood 'Take Back The Night' Filming

• Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O Unplugs

• Miguel Covers Pink's Just Like A Pill

• Eric Church Going In A Different Direction With 'Chief' Follow Up

• Kip Moore Has Almost Finished New Album

• Juicy J Twerk Tweet Ends Up As Scholarship Competition

• Danny Brown's On Stage Sex Act Was Not Planned

• Bastille Trace The Best Of British Rock, Including Morrissey's Pompadour

• Singled Out: Dulcinea Renee's Pictures Of You

More News

anti Worthy Links
• The Screen Door • superLOUD • A Journal of Musical Things • Lloyd Zeffler blog • Demolish Mag • Nightwatcher's House of Rock • CJ Chilvers • Deja Voodoo • The 1st Five • • Hard Rock Memorabilia • Day in Rock @twitter

New Mystery Book from
antiMusic's Dawn Marie Fichera!

Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!
Click Here to Buy T-Shirts!


Tell a Friend about this page - Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2013 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved. antiMusic works on a free link policy for reprinting of our original articles, click here for details. Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.