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-   -   what is your favorite album? (http://www.sonicyouth.com/gossip/showthread.php?t=11955)

jetengine 04.06.2007 02:12 PM

There are simply too many albums to narrow down to one "favourite" or "the best", and--regardless of what the most boneheaded critics might say--the albums are simply too nuanced and diverse to compare to one another. (How can anyone properly compare and contrast albums so different as Bad Moon Rising, Master=Dik, Daydream Nation, The Whitey Album, Dirty and Goodbye 20th Century without feeling like s/he's putting The Ramones through a King Crimson filter or vice versa?)

Probably Sister is their most definitive album, and would be regarded as such--rather than Daydream Nation--by most fans and critics alike, if it had been a double album, thus allowing for a percentage of longer numbers that represent the improvisational side of the band. (Also, the double albums generally seem to be the only SY records that both the fans and critics agree positively on: Walls Have Ears, Daydream Nation, Dirty, Sonic Nurse, etc. The single LPs usually go one way or the other: the fans love Goo, Experimental Jet Set, Rather Ripped, etc. while the critics are hesitant; the critics love Bad Moon Rising, NYC Ghosts & Flowers, Murray St., etc. while the fans report being "disappointed.") Right down to its chaos theory-inspired artwork and surreal/beatnik lyrics, Sister is very probably the album most representaive of the group and everything they're about. Why, why, didn't they pull out all the stops and make it a double...?

Lyrically, the best albums are Sister, Daydream Nation, A Thousand Leaves and (the absolute best) NYC Ghosts & Flowers. Some people insist on also including EVOL (probably owing to the dark surrealism and Lee's coming-into-his-own on "Kingdom #19") and Washing Machine ("Diamond Sea" and Lee's two numbers probably stand out for them), but other than that, most fans seem to be in general agreement over these four choices.

Speaking of Washing Machine, I think the fact that so many fans tend to look down on--or outright ignore--this album has a lot to do with its sounding "unfinished"--at least for those who prefer SY on vinyl. "My Arena" was left off at the last minute, and the second half of "Becuz" got transferred to Side Three; as a result, it sounds like a three-sided album stretched out over four sides with a very short Side One. Also, the number--and length--of the outtakes, alternate takes, live tracks, etc. that wound up being used as b-sides or bonus tracks on foreign versions seem to suggest that it could (should?) have been a triple or even quadruple album. (It would make a great 4-LP/2-CD package in their remastered series, don't you think?) Actually, a similar argument can be made about the double vinyl version of Sonic Nurse: Why weren't "Kim's Chords", "Beautiful Plateau" and "Fire Engine (Dream)" included as bonus tracks in order to "fill it out"?

On a more personal note, I've had a thing for A Thousand Leaves ever since it emerged almost a decade ago. Like several other people out there have been reporting, it seems to tie in with the Jodie Foster films, Laird Koenig novels, and beatnik literature of my youth. Whether some of these references were intended by the band or not is debatable. There's been plenty of fighting going on at some of the other forums; and at one of the Jodie Foster websites, the album has been discussed and treated almost shrine-like by some Foster freaks.

afterthefact 04.06.2007 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protectmeyou
hotwire my heart, a major flaw

Are you kidding? I love this song...

afterthefact 04.06.2007 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by auto-aim
I always see these kind fo questions pointless because there really is no answer for it - i mean to have one favourite out of all the records youve ever heard, i mean if you did have an answer to that you'd have to have a pretty narrow view of music.

I like sonic youth because they're consistantly great and it's like i cant see one album of theirs existing without another. That being said I'd go between sister, evol and nurse - i think. see! i cant even do it.

blah blah blah... just shut up and answer the question.

Trasher02 04.06.2007 02:18 PM

EVOL

auto-aim 04.06.2007 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by afterthefact
Are you kidding? I love this song...



I agree that hot wire my heart - it's the only thing that bothers me about Sister... But it's a cover as well, ain't it? So like bubblegum, it doesnt count... that being said i dig bubblegum a lot, sure not in the context of he album but i cant really say that about hot wire my heart

auto-aim 04.06.2007 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by afterthefact
blah blah blah... just shut up and answer the question.



okay then, I'm going to go with EVOL!
Thats THE best album ever made - better than that Brendan Benson album!

Protectmeyou 04.06.2007 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by afterthefact
Are you kidding? I love this song...


No I'm not kidding.

You're allowed to like flawed songs though.

nomowish 04.07.2007 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jetengine
On a more personal note, I've had a thing for A Thousand Leaves ever since it emerged almost a decade ago. Like several other people out there have been reporting, it seems to tie in with the Jodie Foster films, Laird Koenig novels, and beatnik literature of my youth. Whether some of these references were intended by the band or not is debatable. There's been plenty of fighting going on at some of the other forums; and at one of the Jodie Foster websites, the album has been discussed and treated almost shrine-like by some Foster freaks.


Tell me more about the Jodi Foster connexion...

k-krack 04.07.2007 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jetengine
There are simply too many albums to narrow down to one "favourite" or "the best", and--regardless of what the most boneheaded critics might say--the albums are simply too nuanced and diverse to compare to one another. (How can anyone properly compare and contrast albums so different as Bad Moon Rising, Master=Dik, Daydream Nation, The Whitey Album, Dirty and Goodbye 20th Century without feeling like s/he's putting The Ramones through a King Crimson filter or vice versa?)

Probably Sister is their most definitive album, and would be regarded as such--rather than Daydream Nation--by most fans and critics alike, if it had been a double album, thus allowing for a percentage of longer numbers that represent the improvisational side of the band. (Also, the double albums generally seem to be the only SY records that both the fans and critics agree positively on: Walls Have Ears, Daydream Nation, Dirty, Sonic Nurse, etc. The single LPs usually go one way or the other: the fans love Goo, Experimental Jet Set, Rather Ripped, etc. while the critics are hesitant; the critics love Bad Moon Rising, NYC Ghosts & Flowers, Murray St., etc. while the fans report being "disappointed.") Right down to its chaos theory-inspired artwork and surreal/beatnik lyrics, Sister is very probably the album most representaive of the group and everything they're about. Why, why, didn't they pull out all the stops and make it a double...?

Lyrically, the best albums are Sister, Daydream Nation, A Thousand Leaves and (the absolute best) NYC Ghosts & Flowers. Some people insist on also including EVOL (probably owing to the dark surrealism and Lee's coming-into-his-own on "Kingdom #19") and Washing Machine ("Diamond Sea" and Lee's two numbers probably stand out for them), but other than that, most fans seem to be in general agreement over these four choices.

Speaking of Washing Machine, I think the fact that so many fans tend to look down on--or outright ignore--this album has a lot to do with its sounding "unfinished"--at least for those who prefer SY on vinyl. "My Arena" was left off at the last minute, and the second half of "Becuz" got transferred to Side Three; as a result, it sounds like a three-sided album stretched out over four sides with a very short Side One. Also, the number--and length--of the outtakes, alternate takes, live tracks, etc. that wound up being used as b-sides or bonus tracks on foreign versions seem to suggest that it could (should?) have been a triple or even quadruple album. (It would make a great 4-LP/2-CD package in their remastered series, don't you think?) Actually, a similar argument can be made about the double vinyl version of Sonic Nurse: Why weren't "Kim's Chords", "Beautiful Plateau" and "Fire Engine (Dream)" included as bonus tracks in order to "fill it out"?

On a more personal note, I've had a thing for A Thousand Leaves ever since it emerged almost a decade ago. Like several other people out there have been reporting, it seems to tie in with the Jodie Foster films, Laird Koenig novels, and beatnik literature of my youth. Whether some of these references were intended by the band or not is debatable. There's been plenty of fighting going on at some of the other forums; and at one of the Jodie Foster websites, the album has been discussed and treated almost shrine-like by some Foster freaks.


Holy hell, it could have been a two word answer, you know.

The bolded part... no fucking way, man. That album is pretty contrived, lyrics-wise. It tries too hard to be poetry, and if you ask me, comes across as, well, trying too hard to be poetry, and kind of cheesy. Lee can do it, but Kim and Thurston should've stuck to a more 'song' oriented style.

My favourite album... shit.... Um...At the moment, it is Confusion is Sex. Such a fucking stellar, disturbing exhibit of pure aural bliss. Just this morning, however, it was Dirty... see what I'm getting at, here?

ZEROpumpkins 04.07.2007 04:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SonicSam
DDN. I don't get people who think washing machine is their best album. Of the 10 SY LPs I've heard It is probably the worst!

Diamond Sea, Unwind, Saucer Like, Washing Machine, Skip Tracer.
Sure, it mightn't be the most consistant, but the good songs are unfuckingincredibly good. 3 of those are my favourite Sonic Youth songs across all albums. If you want consistancy, go for Murray Street.

Though I'd probably say that Sister is my favourite. Hell, I can't choose. Sonic Youth are one of those bands who have albums that are all up to a very similar standard. My favourite SY albums change all the time.

_slavo_ 04.07.2007 08:48 AM

E V O L ! ! !

andrei 04.07.2007 10:28 AM

This week: Roger Waters - Ca Ira

afterthefact 04.10.2007 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protectmeyou
No I'm not kidding.

You're allowed to like flawed songs though.

true true

Rob Instigator 04.10.2007 12:36 PM

hotwire my heart is perfect

Torn Curtain 04.10.2007 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Protectmeyou
hotwire my heart, a major flaw


I agree.

Torn Curtain 04.10.2007 04:15 PM

To keep to the topic: Daydream nation

something 04.11.2007 04:15 AM

im confused does this mean sy albums or all albums so here my list
sy-a thousand leaves
eels-electro shock blues
nirvana -in utero
pixies -surfer rosa
led zeppelin-led zeppelin
they all kinda tied

Torn Curtain 04.11.2007 04:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by something
im confused does this mean sy albums or all albums


SY as we're in the Sonic gossip section :)

something 04.11.2007 04:27 AM

whatever i still say william shatners album the transformed man is the greatest piece of art ever created

jetengine 04.13.2007 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomowish
Tell me more about the Jodi Foster connexion...



Well, it seems to be partly based on, or inspired by, Foster's old mid '70's thriller, The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane, which was based on a novel by Laird Koenig. The original story seems to follow a survivalist philosopy--live outside of everything, and plot your own course in the world--even if it involves murder and breaking every other law and fundamentalist taboo in the book.

The front cover's art by what's-her-name is reminiscent of some of the scenes from the movie: the young vulnerable-looking girl, the nearby stereo (probably plays Chopin), the hamster with the fuck-finger pointing to it (will probably get its eyes burnt out). The lyrics seem to have various shades of reference to the film and novel's plot and themes. The dedication to Allen Ginsberg in the middle of the album could be symbolic of Foster's character's dead father, who was a poet. Kim also chants about "Alice, oh Alice, he's just a kitten", etc. in the opening number. There's an image of Kim posing on (I believe) a stool in the album art that recalls one of the early scenes from Foster's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. The video for "Sunday" has McCauley Kulkin necking with his future bride and wearing a magician's top hat--Foster's boyfriend is a magician in the film. In the original promo video for the same song, Thurston is seen shopping for a jack-o-lantern--the original story opens on Halloween with the local teenage girl-rapist (Martin Sheen in the movie) trick or treating at Foster's door with a jack-o-lantern. Most striking of all, though, is the title: A Thousand Leaves. In the novel the word "leaves" pops up again and again and again.

Probably the person who knows more about this theory than anyone is the poet R.W. Watkins. A few years ago he published a little book of haiku based on The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. I think it has a section called a "A Thousand Leaves" or something which is dedicated to SY. (SY is his favorite rock group, I believe, and he's a humongous Foster fan.) Watkins has popped up around the internet being quoted on this stuff. I think he can go into far greater detail than I have above. I saw a webpage or a myspace blog or some damn thing by him or about him several months ago. You can probably contact him there and get his full take on all of this. I think he's a bit of a controversial beatnik-type character himself. A lot of fans I've cme across have noticed the uncanny similarities between this record and the old movie and book, but Watkins has been the most vocal about it, publishing his observations here and there.

Anyway, that's as much as I can tell ya. Shop around and you might learn more.


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