NYC Ghosts & Flowers, my inescapable favorite. I was wondering when I'd have the chance to tickle this one to climax. I call it "ear-scouring dungeon emanations"; it's also an album in black-and-white, if such a thing exists. They were revisiting a medium that they'd left behind in the 80's.
It's the most upfront of all their albums in terms of its references. Goo, by contrast, seems to swirl a whole smorgasbord of American pop culture into its grooves, while this unwaveringly explores the mythic city and certain elements of its underground cultures (the "fucked up in Cleveland" lyric notwithstanding). The beatniks get the most explicit attention, but when listening to Renegade Princess and Free City Rhymes I feel like SY is imaginatively recreating the birth of punk-rock and hip hop. Renegade, for example, is like some tripped-out re-scoring of the video for Micheal Jackson's "Beat It", with the long coda that lasts the whole second half of the song coming off like a slow-motion replay of a Brooklyn up-rock (in black-and-white anime).
It's so spoon-bendingly dense that it defiied my attempts at analysis at first. I didn't dig the whole thing like I do now, I was mainly obsessed with Free City Rhymes and NYC G&F. But one night I was driving around Orange, CA all high and shit with this album cranked, and Side2Side came on. Its myriad layers, the simultaneity of its fragmentation and cohesiveness, the sheer not-giving-a-fuck about it, totally won me over.
My one complaint is not about the album, but the prospects of ever hearing this stuff live. I've been to three SY shows and it doesn't feel like there's ever going to be an NYC G&F Redux, although that would be a cream-dream. We should all demand it, complete with instrumental versions of everything (or else)! Listen to this one all the way through and its initial dreariness will give way to a desolate bliss. If you can truly rock to StreamXSonic Subway you'll know you're there.