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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

E.V.O.L.

Sonic Youth

1986

E.V.O.L.
Album Summary

EVOL is the third full-length studio album by the American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. Released in May 1986, EVOL was Sonic Youth’s first album on SST Records, and also the first album to feature then-new drummer Steve Shelley who had just replaced Bob Bert. In retrospective reviews, critics cite EVOL as marking Sonic Youth’s transition from their no wave roots toward a greater pop sensibility, while bassist Kim Gordon has referred to it as the band’s “goth record.” Pitchfork has praised the album, saying that EVOL "[was] where the seeds of greatness were sown", and placed the album 31st on their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s list, alongside Sonic Youth's next two albums, Sister and Daydream Nation, which ranked 14th and first, respectively.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.88

Votes

10976

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie

Reviews

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Thu Apr 28 2022
5

If I could mould an unsuspecting youth into doing every dark desire I have, then this record would certainly be the gritty soundtrack that accompanied all of the sick things I would conjure up. It should act as a warning to anyone under the age of 16. Stay clear of me. I'm dangerous. But that's what you like about me, isn't it?

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Wed May 26 2021
2

Meh. It's just sloppy noise-rock. There are so many Sonic Youth albums on this list. I don't get what all the fuss is about.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
5

Three albums in Sonic Youth were well on the way to EVOLving a sound utterly unique to Sonic Youth. The underlying outbursts of pop, whilst present, are buried way deeper in the mix here than on later records, it's very much more Black Flag less Madonna. To an extent, it makes perfect sense that the album was released on SST alongside the likes of Husker Du and Minutemen but the sheer avant-garde-ness at the centre of Sonic Youth makes this so much more EVOLved than any of the other post-hardcore Greg Ginn was releasing at the time. It's an album of screeching guitars and spoken word surrealism, it's dark and sinister, it's dense and difficult "anti-rock", it's walls of noise with the very occasional outbreak of beauty. It's very fucking good.

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Fri May 07 2021
4

Nostalgic, listened to a lot of SY as a teenager, though not this album. Shoegaze-y and gothic at times (Marilyn Moore), melodic, driving and uplifting others (Madonna...). Love the interesting noises, distortions and discords.

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Sun Mar 20 2022
5

hell yeah, love Sonic Youth I think I’ve listened to everything from Confusion Is Sex to Daydream Nation and while some albums are definitely better than others, I feel like there’s always something to appreciate in each one I’m excited to hear Goo, that looks like a really cool album, and of course I wanna hear their entire discography and of course EVOL gets a 10/10, some of my favorite songs from the whole discography are in there

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

If you've never listened to EVOL before, start with those lyrics excerpts: "My violence is the number Coming out of prayer Find it in the father Find it in a girl There's a thing in my memory Holding on for dear life With a feeling of secrets Beating up under my flesh My tongue is tied I'm sleeping nights awake Tom Violence is a dream Coming out of a girl" "Kiss me Kiss me In the shadow of Kiss me in the shadow of a doubt" "Close my eyes and think of you Everything turns black to blue Starpower, starpower Starpower over me" "We're gonna kill the California girls We're gonna fire the exploding load In the milkmaid maidenhead We're gonna find the meaning of feeling good And we're going to stay there As long as we think we should Mystery train Three way plane Expressway... to your skull" Now imagine the sort of music that could go with all those weird-yet-evocative lyrics. You'd need something that can convey all the conflicts and sexual tension and innocent arrogance and arrogant innocence and sheer elatedness and muted rage of your teenage years. You'd need a perfect mix of dream pop and indie-rock and terror noise and goth and bubblegum pop. You'd need an LP that literally never ends, with the last groove on the record being a locked one, circling and circling all over again on itself with its low rumbling maelstrom gurgling all the way to eternity. Teenagers always think they're immortal, don't they? You'd need Sonic Youth's first masterpiece. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 812 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory: 102 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 46 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 41

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

It is dissonant, out of tune, and gritty, and I enjoy it for it. It is a little bit up its own ass, but in an endearing way. I like it. It is definitely something you need to be in the right mood/headspace for though.

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Mon Mar 25 2024
2

Friend of mine in high school was very into them. I always found them to be dissonant, noisy, atonal, and high on their own supply......I still do John....I still do....

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Thu May 20 2021
5

“Homero Simpson arruinó mi puerco, Cypress Hill me robo la orquesta y Sonic Youth asalta mi hielera! ¡LARGO DE AHÍ NIÑOS!” No me parece el mejor disco de Sonic Youth ni de cerca (daydream nation seria ese). Pero es inegable la contribución al rock depresivo y oscuro. Un montón de notas sueltas y marcadas que sin dudas influenciaron a muchos de los artistas que mas escucho hoy en día (Reznor, te estoy mirando a vos). Cuando pensaba que la música no se podía poner más angustiante que con los Smashing Pumpkins, salta esto, por suerte menos adolescente y más… Relatable. El aspecto técnico es espectacular… Steve Shelley es un baterista del carajo y se nota muchísimo en el disco, 10 años atrás podría haber tocado la batería en Joy Division y cuadraba perfecto. La voz de Kim Gordon (que mujer) tiene un aire super precursor que siento que después fue super imitado sin nadie que se le pueda acercar. Creo que el mundo de la música es un poco mejor gracias a la existencia de este disco, por mas que no sea mi favorito de la banda. Podría decirse que las contribuciones que hizo son mas que lo que el disco aporta auditivamente cuando lo escuchás. No se si lo voy a volver a escuchar en un futuro cercano, no porque no me guste, sino por el impacto que tiene en mí, cada vez que lo escucho mi cerebro se vuelve un corto de David Lynch.

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Fri May 06 2022
5

Noisy, raw, energetic and with a lot of depth.

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Sun May 22 2022
5

Innovative, raw and hypnotics. A big step forward from previous album, Bad Moon Rising.

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

This is awesome, I like this a lot. Sonic Youth is one of those bands that I've heard a lot about and never really listened to much, so I'm excited to get a bit deeper into their work. From my light reading it seems like this album is considered to be a transition point for them where they rounded out the lineup going forward and solidified their sound a bit. It also just sounds very different from a lot of the other '80s stuff from the time and I'm into it. The sound on here is just really great. There's a bit of the avant garde-y noise in the back on a lot of the songs, and it invokes this somewhat dark and uncomfortable feeling. But like in a way that totally works and makes for an awesome sound. The ping-pong-y sounds and whispers on "Shadow of a Doubt" are just perfect. I like the split male/female vocals as well, and really like the songs that Kim Gordon sings. Awesome album, a real bright spot on a turkey-less Thanksgiving. Favorite song: Shadow Of A Doubt Other: Tom Violence, Starpower, Death To Our Friends, Secret Girl, Marilyn Moore, Madonna Sean And Me 11/23/23

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

Sonic Youth has been my biggest discovery since starting this project. Sure I knew of them beforehand, and listened to a few songs BUT I'm loving their discography. This album is much better than I expected. Btw... I've listen to Kim and Thurston's audiobooks recently. If you are interested in the late 70's NYC music scene, definitely check out Thurston's book.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

I like Sonic Youth. Groundbreaking for the Alternative scene.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
4

Their first of many great albums. This is their poppiest of their albums through Dirty (haven't listened to any after), and so this makes for a great introduction to Sonic Youth. Immediately in the first few songs you get a taste of who the singers are, the level of experimentation, and what style of rock they're going for. This is a slow transition from the no-wave of the previous two albums, but they're still quite distinctively punkish, relying more on noise rock and experimental techniques to create haunting noises. It often feels like the vocals are trying to fight more space against the dissonance and grittiness. The album flows really well from track to track. This isn't a masterpiece, especially not when compared to Daydream Nation, but it's still an excellent album that I'll be listening to time and time again. I can't even list my favorite tracks because I love all of them so much, except maybe "In the Kingdom #19" but it's still an amazing track. I found the lengthy closing track to be a great way to finish the chaos that is this album.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

I've only really heard Sonic Youth's hits, but this was... different. That being said, I loved how weird and avant-garde it was. Awesome.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

One of those albums that’s always been present in my life and has obviously influenced a huge number of bands I love, but I haven’t given it the time I should. Listening to it now, it’s fantastic & I really should dive back into their catalogue.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
4

Makes me feel like a teenager again

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Mon Jan 24 2022
4

This is a pretth good Sonic Youth album.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

Pleasant surprise. I didn’t go into this expecting much but I really enjoyed it

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Thu Mar 03 2022
4

4.5/5. Pretty epic, pretty wild. Great youth

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Wed Feb 17 2021
3

I appreciate Sonic Youth but am more familiar with them from Daydream Nation onward. I like their experimentation and the use of multiple vocalists throughout the record. This earlier stuff is a bit rougher than what I'm used to with them and I find it to be a bit taxing as the record goes on. Sonic Youth is great but perhaps better in smaller doses like a track here and there on a mix/playlist. Looking forward to getting to their later albums on here.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
3

Enjoyed this, not as much as say iron maiden but didn't hate it as much as most metal type bands. can't say a single song stood out.

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Mon Mar 04 2024
2

I've always had the same gripe with Sonic Youth - I think create great music, but have terrible, boring vocals.

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

Larga vida a Sonic Youth? "Ruido" que sí me gusta. De acá conocía "Starpower", pero todo me gustó y especialmente "Madonna, Sean, and Me". Ruido darksss. 10/10

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Sun Jan 30 2022
5

Wonderful. I’ve listened to many SY, but not this one for some reason.

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

This album is Sonic Youth’s on ramp to greatness

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Mon Jan 02 2023
5

notes - sonic youth’s third album - post punk/alternative rock - detuned atonal guitars, talk-singing from both singers - unconventional song structures - i like a lot of other sonic youth stuff, never heard this album before but this album really did it for me - all the songs are super satisfying and unexpected - lots of noise and experimentation that i really enjoyed fav - shadow of a doubt - this song is really something special, wow least fav - bubblegum - it’s a cover, doesnt quite fit 5/5 - i knew going in that i would really like it but this really blew me away

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Wed Jan 18 2023
5

This is already a regular listen for me. Just perfect.

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Fri Apr 28 2023
5

Caught me from the beginning. Immediately, really really good. I’m basically an instant fan. Beat poetry over the noisy, grinding guitars, I mean this is amazing. I loved how dynamic the songs were… there’s a cinematic quality to all of their music. Never too insistent on one mood— always challenging, shape-shifting. I had a great time, and I want to listen more to their work. Immediate fan! 5/5

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Thu May 25 2023
5

Sonic Youth's four best albums: 1. Sister. 2. Dirty 3. Daydream Nation 4. Evol 5. not sure: too much choice. Differences are small though. In any case, great album, 10/10.

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Sun Jun 18 2023
5

An important bit of foundation for many amazing albums to come. Such an original and innovative sound that could only come from SY.

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Fri Jul 21 2023
5

Adding Steve Shelley to the crew, Sonic Youth made their transition into more melodic sensibility territory while not abandoning the atonal post-punk aesthetic while the guitar sound became more "alternative" than ever. Sonic Youth's legendary status was ready to be leveraged from then on. Fav Track: Marilyn Moore

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Thu Aug 10 2023
5

I was fairly ambivalent about the other Sonic Youth album I heard (Sister), but this? I would inject this directly into my veins. Too dramatic? Perhaps. My statement still stands.

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Fri Aug 11 2023
5

Never got the Sonic Youth hype, now I get it!

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

First Homer Simpson wrecks my pig, then Cypress Hill steals my orchestra, and now Sonic Youth's in my Spotify! Amazing.

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Tue Oct 03 2023
5

Growing up in a small Midwestern city in the 80s and having no interest in the local radio station, I bought a lot of music through the mail. I would read the classified ads in any music magazine I could get my hands on, and send away for music catalogs. The catalogs were just huge newspapers full of titles, with little in the way of explanation and maybe a picture here and there. This was my first experience with EVOL. I picked it out of a mail order catalog based on a picture of that cover, and a general sense that this was something I really needed to hear. I don't remember if I had ever actually heard Sonic Youth at the time, and I don't know what I expected exactly. But this album really delivered. I think EVOL gets unfairly overshadowed by a lot of Sonic Youth's later, more ambitious works. But front to back, EVOL is possibly the most cohesive album the band ever made. It's a gritty, tense, unsettling collection of songs, the soundtrack of nightmares. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo (and Mike Watt!) use guitars like a painter uses a brush. Guitars that squeal like tires on the highway, they twitter like birds, they roar like emergency sirens, they chime like church bells in hell. The band uses feedback, distortion and quiet like instruments all on their own. Add to that the propulsive rhythm section of Kim Gordon and Steve Shelley and the haunting vocals of Moore and Gordon, and you have a sound that gets under your skin and stays there. It's dark and unnerving, but with surprise moments of loveliness. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Starpower; Shadow of a Doubt; Tom Violence; Expressway to Yr. Skull/Madonna, Sean and Me; Green Light; Marilyn Moore; Secret Girl; Bubblegum; Death to Our Friends; In the Kingdom #19

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Wed Oct 11 2023
5

This album is pretty much perfect for me. The noisy style works so well here, and there is enough of their no wave roots in this to elevate the experience. They made some amazing records after this, but none of them really live up to this album for me.

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Tue Oct 24 2023
5

I thought I had gotten all the Sonic Youth albums on the list already, but I guess not! Coincidentally, the generator gave them all to me in reverse chronological order. I mentioned last time that I've liked SY more with each earlier album, and that was the case here as well. I guess what I'm learning is that I should explore the rest of their early discography. I'm planning to keep this on my phone and listen to it again.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

Awesome. New to me, I've listened to other sonic youth stuff but this album has evaded me.

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Mon Nov 27 2023
5

This album came at a good time, because lately I have been dark dissonant alternative rock. This band is an acquired taste. I probably wouldn't have like this a couple years ago, and there's some of the stuff in this genre I still don't like (I still don't think I like Jesus and the Mary Chain). Sometimes bands in this genre go overboard with the fuzzy screechy noise, but this album wasn't like that. Torn between 4 and 5.

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Mon Jan 01 2024
5

Another classic SY album. I always liked this one a lot. Shadow of A Doubt is amazing. The firecrackers thrown at Lee on Into The Kingdom makes me chuckle every time. It's just such a good album.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

They always amaze me both in terms of talent and when they were doing this - a decade ahead of the rest of music

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Wed Feb 28 2024
5

Очень понравилось, буду переслушивать. Добротный пост-панк для того, чтобы печально сидеть и смотреть в пустоту. Пока что лучшее, что советовал мне сайт.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
5

One of best US guitar bands in history, new album for me and I loved every song of it. In the Kingdom #16 could have been recorded by early Velvet Underground. Green lights: beautiful guitar play and atmosphere. Secret Girl: the freaky piano and manical speaking, Can go on, this is my type of music.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
5

A little more avant garde than I would typically enjoy on an afternoon but some of the drum lines and piano really stand out.

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Sat Apr 06 2024
5

This album really showcases Sonic Youth’s shift from a noise based band to a more melodic one. The noise elements are still very much there, but amidst the experimental music, melodies and more structured elements arise giving the album a sense of cohesion and identity and lay the foundation for their best work to come. I personally really enjoy the more avant garde aspects and enjoyed hearing their evolution.

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Mon Apr 19 2021
4

Need to get into more sonic youth

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Thu Apr 01 2021
4

I loved this but only because I was in the mood to get freaked out.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
4

This album sounds fresh, as if it could have been released yesterday. The themes and anxiety feel contemporary still, even apt for the current moment.

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

Some good tracks on here, but overall, it's not my sound.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

Much better and more raw than Daydream Nation, and a magnificent composition rocking through

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

This album is dope. Way more low-key and less scream-y than I expected it to be. Its nervous energy matches my own fevered work pitch.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
4

Sort of strange. Sounds like a mix of alternative rock and dark ambient music. I liked it.

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Wed May 12 2021
4

Noisy, tense post-punk indie rock. While it isn't their masterpiece that would come 2 years later, you do hear many of the foundations of that album being explored and distilled. Energetic, often angry and yet melodic vocals and hooks being buried beneath walls of sound. It's no wonder Sonic Youth often distills that gap between Black Flag and all the 90s indie rock bands that followed suit in my mind. They angrily and yet with a delicate pop touch thrashed the path forward.

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Thu May 20 2021
4

Este disco ni en pedo es para cuando estas bajón porque te tiras abajo del bondi. NO PARA CUANDO ESTAMOS EN UN CONFINAMIENTO DE UNA PANDEMIA. pero me gusta la banda 4 efes

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

Actually pretty chill to listen to as I worked

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Mon Jan 24 2022
4

A raucous at times dissonant soundscape, I love it, but wouldn't put it above some other cleaner more tightly put together music

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Sun Apr 17 2022
4

Not one of their best but its Sonic Youth so of course its good

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

Wow. This album has almost as many high points as SHACK has nonced kids today. He has a different meaning for sonic youth.

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Thu Apr 28 2022
4

this is by no means one of the best sonic youth albums, however its infinitely better than 50% of this list.

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Wed May 18 2022
4

Incredible album. Top 3? Sonic Youth album. 8/10

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Wed Jun 08 2022
4

Not as memorable as Goo, but pretty solid. 7/10

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Mon Jun 13 2022
4

Evol is a milestone in the band's history, although the album is less profound and disturbing and more traditional rock, the sound contains the essence of two decades of music of moral decay. (7/10) FT: Shadow of a Doubt

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Thu Jun 30 2022
4

My second album from Sonic Youth, and overall I think I think I might like it better than 'Goo,' which is probably a controversial statement. It's some solid punk rock music that's not obnoxious or too in your face. 'Goo' was very different, and I can't help but compare this album to it. I liked a lot of the softer lyrical stuff on this album.

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Wed Aug 10 2022
4

Dirgey in the best possible way… they’re albums really do take you on a journey. Melody and song smithery aren’t lacking either. Just what you’d expect from SY!

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Thu Oct 20 2022
4

The more I listen to Sonic Youth, the more I don't understand what Sonic Youth is. Are they a band? Is this all just a figment of my imagination? Did the Moon landing happen or was it all just gremlinoid CGI? Some songs on this album sound like Slowdive's Souvlaki, some remind me of crazy-ass post rock like GY!BE or Swans (Sidenote, I'm not a big fan of post-rock, but there's a serious lack of it on this list in general.. like, not even "Soundtracks for the Blind", really?) and then there's some random pop punk songs thrown in for good measure. It's crazy, it's kooky, dare I say it, it even may be a little bit bonkers. Four stars out of five. One star for each gremlin.

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

Huikeeta ja takuuvarmaa SY-tunnelmaa taas. Ei bändin ihan parhaita, mutta täpärä 4 silti.

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Mon Oct 24 2022
4

Kinda grimy and noisy, mostly in a good way. I can definitely enjoy this when I'm in the right mood for it.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
4

Slips in with a characteristic droning sound though I've never heard it before. Immediately like the downbeat vibes. Second track lightens up and then Kim Gordon starts whispering to me. I feel like I could listen to her voice in conversation for about 100 years. Everything about it I like, even when she's screaming or just falling apart a la, "Can I have the car keys.. I wanna go for a ride" on Drive which is an absolute turn it up to 11 favorite from the album Dirty. Shadow of a Doubt is sweet with just a little hint of chaos. Starpower is really good. Gordon is kind of singing around you, not to you on this one. In The Kingdom sounds like a less-deep-fried Southern Culture on the Skids. A big bad voodoo Cadillac headed right for the edge of the cliff and we're just gonna go ahead and keep the gas all the f*****g way down. Secret Girl is like a haunted house and someone is playing a toy piano in the attic. You're not gonna hear this kind of music anywhere else but in a SY album. Just so singular and authentic. Minor chords, crisp high hat, far away singing, heavy heavy guitars, and all manner of unexpected chaos. Can't be a 5, but I absolutely love it. Gorgeous.

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Fri Nov 11 2022
4

Cool sound, I'm digging deeper into them.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
4

Pretty great, bracing, some sounds like Pink Floyd, some like Bowie, all entertaining.

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Sun Nov 27 2022
4

Very good, and very odd. If I was born ten years earlier, I would probably have loved this band growing up, but as it is I love the (many, many) bands they influenced.

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Mon Nov 28 2022
4

Not my favorite Sonic Youth album by a stretch, but it's definitely an interesting listen with some bangers. 3.5 rounded up because I'm biased.

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Thu Dec 15 2022
4

Didn’t know them and liked how experimenting their music feels

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Thu Dec 15 2022
4

Not my preferred style, but great album and ahead of it's time

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Thu Dec 22 2022
4

i don't know it this is a thing, but to me this is drone-rock personified. Everything about drones....the vocals (especially Kim Gordon's), the guitars, the arrangements. It all proceeds in a beautiful, compelling, noisy, disonnant drone that just fits together and works. It doesn't have that one signature track like Goo and Daydream nation and even Sister has have but its a compelling and homogonous listen that pulls the listener in. 4 stars

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Fri Jan 06 2023
4

I really like the previous albums, especially Bad Moon Rising, but this is the first album that really hinted at the greatness to come.

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Thu Jan 19 2023
4

One of the less challenging Sonic Youth albums, that's for sure!

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Fri Jan 20 2023
4

Havent listened to this one in years, great weird album

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Wed Feb 08 2023
4

U samo 2-3 godine, postali su mi jedan od neizbježnih, najdražih i najkvalitetnijih bendova. Definitivno u top 3. Cijela diskografija se sluša, svaki drugi dan mi se neki drugi album sluša. Ovo su zadnji otkucaji tog starog zvuka no wave/post-punk/noise rocka kojeg su se držali u početku. Onda su prešli na lakšiji zvuk, ali opet...ima to svoju priču, valja samo poslušati. Najbolje poslušati po noći, jer ima misteriozan, atmosferičan i mračan ambijent koji je odlično odrađen. Nije u top 5? Ja bar mislim, morao bih se nekako malo zbrojiti i oduzeti i ponovno proći diskografiju <3.

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Tue Feb 21 2023
4

a little bit dark, modern according to the age, experimental guitars are good and they are experts on that.

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Wed Feb 22 2023
4

definitely a sonic youth album. this is my first experience with the band and its pretty good, but i do expect better things with the other albums.

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