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demonrail666 08.30.2007 11:30 PM

Reassessing Dirty
I'll confess. This is the album that, when it was released, put me off da yoof for quite a few years. I just thought there were too many other great bands around at the time doing interesting things of their own to want to continue with one that seemed overly desperate to be accepted by da kids. (at least that's how it seemed to me then) Anyway, because I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment, plus a coffee addiction that's playing havoc with my sleep patterns...

here goes. Dirty, fifteen years on.

1. 100%. A good opener but this is already a very different SY to the one found up to DDN, Goo even. And hey, this has maybe the filthiest bassline in the band's history - after Into the Groovey of course, which is borderline pornographic. So who knows, maybe different is good.

2. Swimsuit Issue. Great bass again and some fine agit-vox from KG. Guitars are supercharged umtil going into a slow sleazy stomp. God, you can already see why the album was called Dirty.

3. Theresa's Sound World. More restrained, a post-sex cigarette of a track. At least it is until those massive...MASSIVE waves of guitars kick in. God, why have I always hated this album? It's fuckin' GREAT so far.

4. Drunken Butterfly. Back to the grinding of 100% with some nice wall-of-blurriness guitars in between. Vocally, KG is showing early warning signs of horrors to come. Still, annoying chorus aside, nothing much to complain about here.

5. Shoot. Sleazy in a Ken Park kind of a way. Evokes images of strip malls, for some reason. The fact that KG is literally old enough to be the grandmother of the girl she's portraying in the song is, however, a bit disconcerting.

6. Wish Fulfillment. Lee gets all grown up and a bit dull by comparison. All very good but nothing to get too excited about.

7. Sugar Kane. A real party stomp of a track. God, if i'd been in my teens when this album came out I'd have been a total mess of adoration. The freak-out moment is a bit restrained compared with before, but fuck, this isn't designed for wiping out your head, it's designed for bouncing on the couch to. And why not?

8. Orange Rolls. Angel's Split. Fucking great. Dirty as fuck vox from KG. I'm really getting the sense that this is an album that's dominated by Kim. Fortunately this is a great period for her, before she finally regressed into some kind of autistic five year old.

9. Against Fascism. Sleazy bass to-tha-max. Thurston's lyrics are a bit too keen to make some kind of Minor Threat connection, but fuck...that bass. It's all about the KG in 92.

10. Nic Fit. Did I already mention Minor Threat? Great all the same. If a little too long.

11. On the Strip. Swirly guitar psych fest, with KG reinventing herself momentarily into a sort of Grace Slick in DMs. Most obvious link to SY's past is probably Starpower, but just in case you miss that link there's the whole noise thing in the middle just to remind you what band you're listening to. Not one of the best moments on the album, but not at all bad either.

12. Chapel Hill. Ewww, shockingly bad lyrics from Thurston. The melody is a bit too sacharine sweet and even a gear up at the end can't really save what's probably the worst track on the album so far.

13. JC. On paper this track should be a disaster, but somehow it works a treat. Simple but affective.

14. Purr. Fairly unremarkable noise-punk by numbers that I know I'll forget again the minute it stops. Another miss-fire from Thurston.

15. Creme Brulee. Another one of those sketchy last tracks that could've just as easily been left off. Nice enough in a come-down kind of way, but not really necessary.

I can still see why I hated this album at the time (it's about as far away from 'The World Looks Red' as it's possible to get) but listening now, it's a great pop-punk album that bands like Green Day would've done well to have absorbed. This really was the point when KG was at full creative strength and she really dominates the record. I'm also guessing that Lee might've HATED this new direction; he certainly seems quite marginalised on most of the album. It's also perhaps the least NY album they'd made up to that point, maybe ever.

Everyneurotic 08.30.2007 11:37 PM

the only song i don't like in this album is creme brule; shoot and theresa's sound world can get really heavy (like in dire, not in metalness) in parts but i think they add to the experience.

what most people don't realize is that this album is noisy as hell, had someone else produced the album instead of butch vig, it would have been one of their most difficult; but i think it helped them because that helped them gel their noisy, spiky guitars with actual, completely realized melodies and great classic yet ambitious song structures and arrangements.

and, they did their share of noise break improvisations on it, but every note has a place in the album, it's like it was composed that way. it's also one of their most emotional albums.

as i said on the mille follie thread, this is part of my triumvirate.

oh yeah, and it has my favorite cover they have ever done.

total-trash 08.30.2007 11:44 PM

this is my favorite SY album for sure.

demonrail666 08.30.2007 11:46 PM


Originally Posted by Everyneurotic
as i said on the mille follie thread, this is part of my triumvirate.

I'm guessing that Goo is part of it too, but what's the third/first? DDN or EJTNS?

Everyneurotic 08.30.2007 11:47 PM

nope, it's dirty, confusion is sex and syr4: goodbye 20th century

syntax-free 08.31.2007 12:13 AM

i love wish fulfillment no matter how bad some people say it is

syntax-free 08.31.2007 12:15 AM

can you reassess goo? i love that one.

k-krack 08.31.2007 12:27 AM

I'm a bit cheesed ou say Minor Threat for Nic Fit, considering it's actually by the Untouchables (Ian MacKaye's brother's band hehe). Silly guy, you!

But I love this album, yet never give it the credit it deserves... JC is one of the saddest songs ever written, heavy subject matter and inspiration...
And Shoot is honestly one of the most intense songs ever. I listen to that and go like, "Shit! Augh! EEf!" Like rawdick said, it's fucking dire.

demonrail666 08.31.2007 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by Everyneurotic
nope, it's dirty, confusion is sex and syr4: goodbye 20th century

Whoah! wasn't expecting that!

demonrail666 08.31.2007 12:31 AM


Originally Posted by k-krack
I'm a bit cheesed ou say Minor Threat for Nic Fit, considering it's actually by the Untouchables (Ian MacKaye's brother's band hehe). Silly guy, you!

I was being sarcastic with the Minor Threat connection, and about it being too long, of course.

therealglenstyler 08.31.2007 04:22 AM

oddly, I love all the tracks individually off this record a lot but have almost zero affection for the album as a whole, which makes no sense. I guess it just don't work as an album for me, too long, though how you would choose what to leave off I can't even begin to imagine.

sarramkrop 08.31.2007 04:25 AM

When all is said and done, this album might be one their most criticised, but how many musicians do you know who would make one that sounded like it or had the same type of songwriting? I don't think I know a band that could at all, and that's why I love Sonic Youth so much. Yes, it has its flaws, but the quality of the majority of the songs on it is very, very good indeed.

therealglenstyler 08.31.2007 04:41 AM

yup, I think most of the criticisms of this period for the band are people judging albums from the point of view of their own anxiety about corporate rock or alternativeness or whatever the fuck people were fussing about at the time and the quality and straight up awesomeness of the songs from this period gets pretty short shrift. all the opinion in the world goes out the window whenever they play any thing from this period live though, absolutely every fucker will absolutely lose all of their shit. eg 100% at ATP, I had no idea how rough they played it until long after because i was too busy going YYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
(I will be doing the same for the entirety of tonights show)


sarramkrop 08.31.2007 06:57 AM

Totally. One of the things that bugged me about that sort of criticism is the fact that they always cared for delivering the goods much more than so many other bands, and let's face it, a bad Sonic Youth song is worth millions of songs by many other bands. Another thing that i never got was the fuss about them having a song like Youth Against The Fascism on this album, which is lyrically coming from an intelligent artist with a rational perspective on feelings of anger, rather than just the ranting of some anarco-punk or whatever these people usually call themselves.

sarramkrop 08.31.2007 07:11 AM

You can if you turn it into exasperation, which the song in question is the prime example of.

sarramkrop 08.31.2007 07:24 AM

Mybe yes, maybe not. Who knows?

therealglenstyler 08.31.2007 07:43 AM


Originally Posted by swa(y)
i always thought youth against facisim kinda sucked. it was just boring and lyrically not very well developed. i always felt it sounded like a song they began working on, but never really finnished. it damn sure isnt crass, or the sub hum and, fuck, it really isnt even the sex pistols either. but thats kinda cheesey for me to say, cause SY certainly has had some "angry" songs that were very well worked out. i just always thought that one was a bit silly...but then again...even silly has its place. even in the scheme of anger.

may I just ask, sir, are you deceased???

COME ON! HEH-WOH??? Youth against fascism is stupidly good, I imagine this song as the soundtrack to the administration of the lethal injection donald rumsfeld so richly deserves. lyrically it recieves all of the development necessary when those uber loud guitars kick in for the last verse.


sonicl 08.31.2007 07:51 AM

I didn't like Dirty much when it came out either, so much so that I skipped seeing them on that tour.

But you know how we all have one song that we'll go particularly apeshit if it's played at a gig we're at? Well, Sugar Kane is my bouncing around like an idiot song. It is, to my mind, the closest to perfection that Sonic Youth ever have been and ever will be. Even if I still thought that the album was too "rock", which I did at the time, I'd love it anyway because it gave that one song to the world.

ZEROpumpkins 08.31.2007 08:03 AM


Originally Posted by demonrail666
6. Wish Fulfillment. Lee gets all grown up and a bit dull by comparison. All very good but nothing to get too excited about.

Dude...sorry I disagree with you here, but agree with almost everything else you said. Especially Orange Rolls, very cool and underrated song.

atsonicpark 08.31.2007 08:23 AM

BY FAR their worst album. Boring, generic, predictable, plodding, sub-grunge bullshit. Full of lame riffs, uninteresting moments, and the slickest production (in a bad way.. drum samples!) ever. Just embarassingly bad. The worst moments that weren't on Goo. "wish fulfillment" is a nice enough song, and "Chapel hill" is one of the few sy songs with a guitar solo (and it's surprisingly good -- and i hate guitar solos!). all in all, it's just too long and hard to listen to. some girl tried to get me to buy this instead of confusion is sex, my first sonic youth album -- can you IMAGINE if this was someone's first SY album?! damn...

Just a very, very unfortunate album.

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