Sonic Youth are, and always will be, better than your band.
Dirty is the seventh full-length studio album and second double album by American rock band Sonic Youth, released on July 21, 1992 by DGC Records. The band recorded and co-produced the album with Butch Vig in early 1992 at the Magic Shop studios. The sound on Dirty was inspired by the popularity of grunge music at the time, and has been described by Billboard magazine as avant-rock. Some songs on the album mark the first appearance of three guitars in a few Sonic Youth songs. Dirty reached number 83 on the US Billboard 200 and number six on the UK Albums Chart. The album spawned four singles: the lead single "100%" charted well, but was not the crossover hit the label anticipated, followed by "Youth Against Fascism", which did not chart as well. The last two were "Sugar Kane" and "Drunken Butterfly", with the former performing better commercially than the latter. In support of the album, Sonic Youth embarked on the "Pretty Fucking Dirty" tour of 1992 and 1993, where they played most of the album during sets. In late 1992, they toured North America, and in early 1993, they toured New Zealand and Australia and released the Whores Moaning EP, which featured most of the "Sugar Kane" B-sides.
Sonic Youth are, and always will be, better than your band.
There's very little to dislike about this album. Sure, Kim Gordon's vocals wander around looking for the key like a drunk in the dark trying to unlock their front door. But, other than that, it's a pretty good post-punk, post-grunge, alt-rock album. The issue is that there's not really a whole lot that amazing about it either. The lyrics are culturally relevant but stop short of being pointed commentary. The musicality has an edge to it (that's often missing in a lot of grunge-adjacent rock) but it's stops short of kicking anyone in the nuts. The album is good but it's just not great. Guitar tones are on point though and it was fun background rock.
Hey, no one ever went to a Georgia O’ Keeffe exhibit to gaze at realistic reproductions of flowers and landscapes. Nor did anyone view a Terry Gilliam film with the understanding that actual events were being depicted. So don’t approach Sonic Youth with the expectation that you’re going to hear songs with sustained, consistent tempos or beautiful harmonies, or even instruments in tune! If so, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. If, however, you can listen beyond the norm, and adjust your tuning frequency to that of the band’s, then you’re in for a uniquely good experience. I have a friend who happens to be a priest in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The liturgy chanted in their worship is lengthy, to say the least. They are just warming up on Sunday morning while most Protestant and even Catholic congregations are closing shop. The sheer amount of words emanating from the priest(s), the reader(s), and the choir is overwhelming. It’s simply too much to consider in real time. I asked my priest friend about this once and his suggestion was to allow the liturgy to just wash over you, and release the need to reflect upon what’s being communicated. It’s not really a didactic exercise for the congregant anyway. It’s more of a spiritual communion between the Divine and human, a foretaste of heaven on earth. (This isn’t his exact quote, just my general memory.) While an aural experience of Sonic Youth is hardly religious, I think a similar practice may be helpful. It’s not really a didactic exercise either, although the lyrics are mostly decipherable: bassist and vocalist Kim Gordon comments on cultural issues from a feministic perspective on songs like ‘Swimsuit Issue’ and ‘Shoot.’ Same with guitarists and fellow vocalists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, weighing in with pretty harsh condemnation (emphasis on the 'Youth' part of Sonic) regarding still more cultural issues on ‘Youth Against Facism’ and ‘Sugar Kane.’ And then there’s a handful of surreal offerings like ‘Drunken Butterfly,’ for example, which contains nothing more than lyrics and titles of songs from the classic rock band, Heart. But lyrics aren’t really the heart of Sonic Youth. Music is, or more accurately, the mood created by the music. I don’t know of a lot of other bands that create a more potent ambience than Sonic Youth. And while Dirty is a good LP, it’s not their best, nor the best representation of the typical volume of glorious dissonance found on most of their other recordings. In fact, as I understand it, producer and engineer Butch Fig wanted to tighten the arrangements up a bit, and I think it’s to the detriment of what Sonic Youth does best. It’s like asking the Grateful Dead to not jam so much. Again, don’t get me wrong, 'Dirty' is still a fine recording. Just take the bridge on ‘On the Strip,’ starting at about the three minute mark and extending for about 70 seconds with it’s A piacere, dissonant feedback (like the end of many of the live Who or Hendrix concerts back in the day), and imagine that extending for several more minutes sometimes as an intro, other times as a middle, often as a conclusion- that’s Sonic Youth. These fellas (and lady) have the patience to give the song time to breath, like a uncorked bottle of wine before its poured. They also understand the value of ritardando in a song, which is a word most rock bands wouldn’t even be able to define. And, as would be expected, their utilization of dynamics emphasizes the emotional effect each song is aiming at. The interplay of guitar work between Moore and Ranaldo, the notes often rubbing up so close together they almost become one, is jarring while at the same time surprisingly agreeable. Then, when they do finally sync up or harmonize together It’s like the feeling of health you always get (but often take for granted) following a bout with the flu. You find yourself exhaling a breath of air out of your lungs before you even realized you had been holding it in. And Steve Shelly’s steady drumming remarkably manages to hold this whole thing together, while even delivering a flourish of his own. This guy loves a shuffle beat, and it’s to Sonic Youth’s betterment. Finally, no one’s ever going to invite Kim Gordon to sing the National Anthem at a ball game, but her fierce growling of the lyrics at the end of ‘Shoot’ are convincing enough to make the hair on any man’s neck rise. She’s perfect for Sonic Youth. The golden tones of Karen Carpenter would be quite out of place here. Sonic Youth has long been one of my favorite bands. And years ago, when I read that Neil Young loved ‘em too, it made my heart skip a beat. Turn this one up loud, and cinch your seat belt tight. And toss your habitually conditioned clean ears and expectations right out the window. It’s about to get 'Dirty.'
Noise rock perfected. Crazy, wailing guitar lines, pop-punk sensibilities, dirty drums, interesting vocals and lyrics. Favorite song: Wish Fufillment
Really surprised I haven't come across this sooner because it's totally up my street. I usually hear people talk about Daydream Nation or Goo when it comes to Sonic Youth, which I like a lot - but this feels more polished, more direct, and influenced by the grunge scene which was exploding at the time, while not losing sight of their own experimental edge. Superb
Probably the most accessible Sonic Youth album I've heard so far, but that doesn't make the Kim and Thurston duo any less tasty.
There’s a damn fine case to be made for Sonic Youth as the greatest American rock band. At the least, they are the band that exemplifies what I consider to be “the American spirit” more than almost any other. Let’s review: Ambitious? Check. Adventurous? Check. Aggressive? Check. Rebellious? Check. Forward thinking? Check. Politically savvy? Check. Innovative? Check. Experimental? Check. Influential? Check. Unorthodox? Check. Unique? Check. Willing to carve out their own path? Check. Most importantly, they fucking rock. Dirty might be Sonic Youth at their most aggressive. It’s exceptionally loud, chaotic and noisy. If you want to scare the shit out of your neighbors at 3 am, pick up an original pressing of this record on vinyl (it’s mastered *so* hot) and crank it up. But it’s not without songs and melody. Sugar Kane is one of the greatest 90’s alt-rock songs - that it’s relatively unknown, outside of Sonic Youth fans, is a crime. The twists, turns and breakneck speed of “Purr”…the ethereal grandeur of “Theresa’s Sound World”…the blunt teardown of America’s sexual harassment problem on “Swimsuit Issue”…and the gorgeous, chiming, opening strains of “Chapel Hill”: These are the heights that hacks like William Corgan and the majority of your alt-rock heroes could only dream of attaining. Dirty isn’t the best Sonic Youth record and it’s not even my favorite - they made better records before and since - but it is the record that turned me into a Sonic Youth obsessive. For that, it will forever get high marks in book.
This was always my favourite Sonic Youth album, and it still sounds great today.
My favourite Sonic Youth album after Sister: non-stop 5* rock songs, highly accessible without doing any concessions to their sound.
This is the album where I became aware of Sonic Youth (after the Nirvana explosion) so these songs are burned a little deeper into my memory. Liked listening to the rehearsal tapes on the deluxe edition.
No. I can't understand why you would learn how to play an instrument to turn around and make shit like this. I want to sue them.
I was a casual Sonic Youth fan before listening to this. Like, loved pretty much everything I've heard and always intended to dive in deeper, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. This album assignment was the push I needed to finally do that. Now. In my defense, I was very stoned before i hit the play button. But I immediately purchased a Dirty vinyl after one listen. Anyway, to sum up my thoughts, I'm an alt-rock girl at heart (maybe tied with pop at this point for my favorite genre), and listening to this was like letting my angsty soul have a nice long rest at home. Oh, also, as an avid crocheter, I will definitely be creating my own little orange alien to sit on the shelf next to the album.
The albums on this site have brought me to love Sonic Youth. This album is not exception.
“I’ve been around the world a million times and all you men are slime.” Love love love this album. I have listened to plenty of Sonic Youth over the years but never sat to listen to an entire album. Nothing but love for this one.
Love it! Now we're talking!
I enjoyed this album. Coming from not knowing too much of their work, I think this opened me up to their style of music. Their music has uses heavy distortion but it's controlled and fits with the singing(like in "drunken butterfly" and "orange rolls, angel spit"). The sound is heavy and sometimes melodic which is what I like to listen to and I enjoyed some of the 'softer songs like "chapel hill". Their a great mix of hard rock, 'grunge' and punk.
Ne vous faites pas avoir par cette note de 4/5, il s'agit en réalité d'un 3,6/5.
your favorite band's favorite band. I can definitely see why. Intuitive guitar sounds, powerful vocals. Pretty hectic and fast paced throughout, but also has some more relaxed songs to break it up a bit. However, not an album I feel the need to listen to over and over again. Not that many memorable songs.
Yeah, this is really cementing for me that I shoulda got into Sonic Youth decades ago. It's well badass. I could see more listens pushing this to a 5 easily enough. Fave track - "Youth Against Fascism" is delightfully catchy and off-kilter. Also really liked the vibe of "JC"...
Yknow that scene in a recording studio where there’s some terrible band making noise and the friend/producer/lead is pronouncing that what they’re creating is art but it’s it’s actually just shit? That’s what this album sounds like.
Pretty sure I've only heard Sugar Cane from this album. I'm surprised I hadn't heard the whole thing before, it is right up my ally. This is early alternative/grunge from 1992. It was before I really got into music as a teenager, I was only 13 when this came out. I don't think I really "got into" music until I was 16, especially alternative rock.
Much harder than I remember it being
Ja, dit is er wel eentje voor mij! voor de liefhebbers van 100%, luister eens naar het coveralbum van Mantar "Grungetown hooligans",
Ну че, пацаны, 5 альбомов Соник Юф в подборке? Что тут скажешь, одно из самых простых для понимания, но при этом не теряющее своего шарма творение. Запилено было после того, как пацаны из СЮ расхайпили Кобейна, взяли парнягу к себе на лейбл, а тот возьми да и скажи (лейбл): мол, ребят, походу в тренде щас гранж, давайте че-то похожее сообразите. Ну а хули тут соображать, как бы, когда они прямое влияние на него и оказали. Ну и сделали песни попсовее и помелодичнее, чем обычно. Когда составлял топ-100 любимых альбомов (там с условностями, но всё же), то его включил тоже, вместе с шедевральным Goo. Щас так подумал, а может всё же что-то другое стоило? Но, переслушав, пришёл к выводу, что пусть будет. Главной проблемой пластинки остаётся доминация песен Ким Гордон, которые проигрываю пацанским темам по всем фронтам. Но всё же при этом здесь собраны одни из лучших песен Гордон, поэтому ну хуй с ним, видно шо старалась. Ну а остальное — это ж праздник вообще. Theresa's Sound-World, Sugar Kane, Youth Against Fascism (где кстати отметился игрой на гитарке сам Ян Маккей из Фугази), Chapel Hill и Purr (последние две войдут, вероятно, в десятку любимых песен СЮ) — всё заебись, в меру экспериментально, в меру шумно (ну этож нойз-рок в конце концов), в меру мелодично и попсово. Не идеальный альбом, но очень крепкий и обладающий потенциалом на переслушку. 9/10
An excellent noise record. Sonic Youth is one of the great noise bands without a doubt
Not as strong as Goo, but the second strongest from them so far, far surpassing Daydream Nation. It is good, if a little overrated.
This is the sound Ive needing for a while. I like the energy and the power that comes form almost every single song.
<3 top 3: "Sugar Kane", "Creme Brulee" y "Drunken Butterfly" <3 <3 10/10
Love the 90’s
On other list. Great album.
One of the best Sonic Youth albums
Loved this, missed til now, sonic excellence.
I like it. The alternating singers and the great variety of riffs and sounds make this a great listen. Didn't listen too closely to the lyrics, but they all felt very centered towards an idea, and I like that a lot.
bello punkettone e rumoroso come piace a me, nonostante questo melodico. belle le voci e creativi i motivi. Elettronica e chitarra con effetti. molto vario (diverso da varissimo) anche come emozioni anche se tutte sfumature di greve
I love this album. A great mix of noise aggression and melody - lots of crazy experimentation but also very accessible and some lovely dreamscape tracks.
Goo sounds like the OG great sellout record to me, then here they proved they could still sellout without compromising their noisy proclivities, Dirty is my favourite SY record and one of my favourite albums to play in the car.
listened in high school
15 doses para uso consciente de ruídos, distorções e efeitos sonoros. Para experimentar continuamente o rock dissonante e punk envolvente.
Really influential album and sound. All of the instrumentals are dope and have a lot of cool dynamic changes. I also like the very straight forward lyrics in some of these songs. A lot of the noise/shoegaze bands usually have very cryptic lyrics but songs like swimsuit issue are almost like punk lyrics. I didn’t love Kim Gordon’s vocals at first but they grew on me and the music is just so good. JC has a haunting kinda sound that I really like and stuck with me. A lot of the songs have great riffs and/or melodies under the layers of noise and distortion which I feel like takes the songs to another level and conveys the energy of the writing really well. Whether it’s adding to a fast song to take it another level or destroying the more soft songs like JC. So many cool dynamic and tempo changes in this one too that draw you in and makes the album fly by. Sick album and I’m looking forward to listening to this and more sonic youth in general. 👍: JC, chapel hill, purr, sugar kane
This album is so damn good that it is still going to get 5 stars even with the amount of screechy elements that made me recoil. Favorite track: Theresa's Sound-World
Sonic Youth go (sort of) commercial. But stay true to themselves. I've never listened to this despite being VERY familiar with the cover, saw it everywhere but least my brother's record collection. recognise a few tracks, the straight up bangers of 100% and Sugar Kane, but they sound the least like themselves. Was slow to get into it but it gets really in my skin a few tracks in and doesn't let up.
This album brings back a lot of fond memories for me and I found this time around to be quite enjoyable. 100% is still great, as is Sugar Kane, Creme Brulee just leaves me wanting more so let's go again!
Perverts love this
Brilliantly brash and aggressive, the alternating male/female vocal leads showcasing a breadth of emotions
Sonic Youth just delivers every time. Though the album peaks early on with the perfect “Theresa’s Sound-World”, where Moore delivers an incredible performance, the entirety of Dirty (not including “Nic Fit”) is just brilliant. There’s no denying what an incredible drummer Steve Shelley is, but on this album he shows up to become one of the greatest alive. His playing is so varied, expressive and explosive that I find myself in awe every time he hits just anything.
What a band, what an album.
Early grungy, punk kinda feel. Loved it.
Fun Vibe, Good album
Hadn't really listened to Sonic Youth, but this album rocks. The guitar parts are crazy rock and the distortion and tones make it amazing.
raw and rich
Unfortunately, wasn't very impressed by Sonic Youth here. Listened to the majority of the album, but it just didn't get me. I can't bear to rank punk stuff super low, but just not a sticker for me.
bedroom vibes very epic i like this
Often quite thrilling.
I enjoyed this album
Noise/alt rock with some elements of no-wave. Hella takes a lot of influence from this band. 8/10, give me more noise.
"I'm so happy we're just friends" Wow vaya broche
Muy suyos. Sonido crudo y grunge.
Good surprise... nice alternative rock
This rewarded my patience I wish I had more to give
Wel stevige maar goede rock
Hoge score vooral vanuit jeugdsentiment. Aantal (Thurston Moore) nummers zijn briljant, maar nu ik het hele album na lange tijd weer eens helemaal luister valt het me op hoe vervelend ik de "zang" van Kim Gordon eigenlijk vind. En in mijn herinnering zong zij maar een paar nummers maar zeker de helft heeft haar gekras. Leidt enorm af van de muziek en maakt het zelfs dat ik de 'mythische status' die ik aan dit album had gegeven moet intrekken.
No está mal
Oké rockplaat, de afwisseling tussen de lead-vocalists is wel interessant.
Альбом, к которому вряд ли захочу возвращаться, но в котором, ладно, вроде что-то есть. Немало какого-то душного шума, в котором ни эстетики, ни драйва, но когда к этому добавляются оригинальные вокальные партии и композиционные решения - вроде интересно. Сильнее всего для себя выделил трек Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit. Sugar Kane, On The Strip, Сhapel Hill вполне интересны, Nic Fit навивает ностальгические нотки летовского проекта Коммунизм. В общем, умом понимаю, что нормальное музло вроде бы, но по эмоциям не особо отбивается и даже душит порой.
Not sure if it’s my favorite album of theirs, but solid.
Incredibly discordant but it really does work. I don't understand music
Album Song Ranking: Theresa's Sound-World Youth Against Fascism Sugar Kane Swimsuit Issue JC Wish Fulfillment Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit (H.M.) Creme Brulee Purr On The Strip Shoot Chapel Hill 100% Nic Fit Drunken Butterfly
Liked it, noisy but a good recording
Hostia tremendo sample en la intro Me gusta bastante en verdad, algo anticuado pero nunca pensé que sonic youth me gustaría Guapísimo, mejor las partes más Punk que las partes suavecitas Esos distorrrrrrttts Vale se me está haciendo pelin largo
We're on a '90's kick here. Before I listened to this album, the most I'd ever gotten into Sonic Youth was their quite overrated version of "Superstar". This was better than I expected. Much better than their attempt at "Superstar" for certain. Realizing now as someone who DJ'd at my campus alternative radio station from 1991-93, I let a lot of good music slip by me. There's a song on here (Drunken Butterfly) that apparently takes its lyrics from Heart song titles and lyrics. This album just flat out works as a whole. Kept listening to more Sonic Youth via Spotify after this album ended. Giving it another listen to avow my love, and to ensure it deserves the title of most surprising (or most out of left field) 5. I also just discovered there are FIVE Sonic Youth albums on this list. Seems high. As far as Dirty is concerned, it's the most surprising 4 so far. I'm still not sure what "noise rock" is, but if that's how you describe Sonic Youth, no one does that genre better.
My favourite noise rock band. Sonic Youth goes a *little* mainstream due to grunge wrapping itself around their sound and style. Kim Gordon’s growly vocals show huge influence over Courtney Love’s Hole persona. Killer record. I sure miss these guys.
Awkward, angular, aggressive. This is a really cool listen if you enjoy dirty bass, screeching guitars and wailing vocals.
Not as consistent or unique as some of their other albums, but still excellent. Kim Gordon in particular really shines on this one. On the higher end of 4.
3 Likes: 100%- that howling feedback throughout the song Theresa's Soundworld- VU vibes Shoot- Seductive Sugar Kane Chapel Hill- great catchy, upbeat 90s intro, lots of changes, amazing heavy middle section 3 Strikes: Wish Fulfilment Orange Rolls, Angel Spit JC Listen Again? Yes- I enjoyed parts of this a lot! It was uneven in places but a lot more enjoyable than Daydream Nation- tighter song structures, pop gems hidden underneath all the noise, reminded me of where Velvet Underground could have gone. Some spoken word-y sections lost me (JC, for example) but overall a solid listen. Just scrapes 4*.
Another excellent Sonic Youth entry. Still abrasive and signature noise rock, but it's lighter and more accessible than prior entries. Lots of tracks are still post-punk in nature, while others are clearly influenced by the growing grunge movement. I absolutely love their sound, and here it's the most melodic of their "noisy" albums. Most songs are at least great. As usual, my favorite songs tend to be where Thurston is the vocalist. "Sugar Kane" is for fans of "Teenage Riot," and is probably their poppiest. I love the constant noise shifts in that song. "Theresa's Sound-World" is another song I really like, and it best demonstrates their grunge influence. I feel like the album picks up from "On the Strip," which alone is my favorite Gordon song. The rest of the album feels mellower and poppier: songs you could sing along to and rock out to the noise. I felt like the "Purr" would have been a better closing track than "Creme Brulee." Although not as coherent as prior albums, it still retains the characteristics that had made Sonic Youth stand out for so many years, influencing alt rock for years to come.
banger do bangera al sredina krene malo smarat
something a bit different, overall enjoyed
Beautiful noise for the counterculture. Out of tune guitars and flat vocals still provide punchy, noise driven, hard hitting rock and roll to get the mind thinking of rebellion. Highlight tracks: 4, 5, 12, 14 (and more)
Delightful. First SY album for me. I love the sound, and I wonder why I never bumped into this in the 90's or slightly later when I had my grunge phase. It drags on a tiiiny bit, I suppose. Some imbalance in the material. But I forgive it all.
Well shit, I feel like I don't need to listen to this one, but of course I will. Guess I didn't listen to the whole thing as much as I thought when I was in grade 12. Still the first album I know of that put a secret picture behind the cd case.
You get exactly what they told you: a dirty sounding record, musically. The people writing it off as loud noises owe it a few more listens to appreciate the layers of complexity. It rules, it flies in the face of every commercial instinct other bands at this time followed.
Pola po sjećanju
Volim Sonic Youth, i stvarno su mi među dražima, ali ovaj album nikako da mi dođe na bolju stranu njihovih albuma. Ovo je baš onako na međi, na sredini gdje nije ni loše, a nije ni toliko dobro da bi išlo više od trojke. Možda sam iskreno trebao i prošlom albumu dati trojku ipak (New Order - Low-Life, jebiga, ne mog sad to vratiti). Volim njihovu agresiju, i što su mnogi artisti od njih pokupili zvuk i probali nešto drugačije, pa će uvijek SY imat rispekt u glazbenoj industriji, a pogotovo u ovom žanru. I uvijek mi se sviđao ovaj cover, htio sam ga na majicu, bit će jednog dana, vjerujem. Solidan album, ali nije pokazao nekakav razvitak od prijašnjih albuma (Sister, EVOL, Goo, Daydream Nation) to name a few. EDIT: na drugom slušanju opet mi je album bolje lego, stvarno je. Low-Life od New Ordera je dobio 4, a on je zapravo trebo dobiti 3, a ovaj album ovaku zvijezdu koju sam sad lupio. Favoritne: 100%, Theresa's Sound-World, Sugar Kane, Chapel Hill.
The contrast between the roughness of the guitar and the vocals and the more raspy, soft tracks is so euphoric. "Chapel Hill" and "Drunken Butterfly" are especially beautiful!
Like it not ready to love it
This is really good as Sonic Youth albums go, certainly their most polished and accessible one that I've heard. It was easier on the ears for sure, but I do miss the grit and musical risk taking of the earlier albums. The vocals also seem a little shakier to me, especially Kim Gordon's. All that said, I'm still giving this a 4. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo can bend, twist and grind a note like nobody's business and Sonic Youth is never not interesting. Fave Songs: Purr, Chapel Hill, Sugar Kane, JC, 100%, Youth Against Fascism
I really like Sonic Youth and this is their most accessible I think. It was a bit of a changeover from their earlier albums, and it sounded a bit more clean, especially with the production. It's an album I can still listen to on repeat. Not a masterpiece, but just great noisy rock 'n' roll
Listenable punk....not that that's a bad thing at all. The first time I ever heard these guys was when I saw them playing Bogarts in Cincinnati. This is a good album that sounds even better live.
I wasn't familiar with this specific album, good noise-music, enjoyed it.
Dirty sounds and vibes, but pure emotion.
Love this album. They’re not the greatest songs, but it exemplifies a time and place in guitar music
So hardcore. Almost too hardcore. Daydream Nation is a perfect album but I think this isnt that. Nothing to latch onto. Still Beautifully hardcore. 8.7/10
Pretty good. Some absolute bangers but a lot of it seemed to fade into the background