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Old 08.27.2007, 10:44 PM   #1
demonrail666
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It was great to listen through experimental... on the other 'reassessing...' thread, so thought I'd do the same with this album: one I rarely listen to, so another spin is gonna be interesting.

So, here goes:

1. Becuz. Simple but really hooky opener that's quintessential mid-career Sonic Youth. KG is still doing the 'little girl lost' vocal thing but it's a lot less over the top here. Good stuff.

2. Junkie's Promise. A decent slowly chugging rocker that maintains the pace set by 'Becuz' before going all 'Sonic Youthy' in the last third. Nice.

3. Saucer-Like. Not one of my fave LR songs, but there's the guitar part here that always reminds me of the Byrds' Eight Miles High. Pleasant but hardly amazing.

4. Washing Machine. This is a pretty annoying KG plodathon, until the monologue bit in the middle, and that nice 'wash-of-sound' guitar ending.

5. Unwind. Nice one to stick on just before you're going to sleep. Guaranteed you won't be awake by the time it finishes. Reminds me of Pavement at their most dull. Some quite nice building guitar stuff in the second half mind you - if you're still awake to hear it, of course.

6. Little Trouble Girl. It's the Shangri-Las laying on a psychiatrist's couch. I want to think that's a great idea, and maybe it is. But this really is an awful song.

7. No Queen Blues. A decent enough laid back chugger with the trade mark 'Sonic Youthy' bit at the end again. The real problem is the vocals. None of SY have very good singing voices and one of the things I find so frustrating about this period is how much emphasis they put on the vocals. Thurston Kim and Lee have always been better shouters than singers.

8. Panty-Lies. I'm beginning to remember why I so rarely listen to this album. Self-conscious Poly-Styrene-isms don't work here at ALL!

9. Untitled. Nice little guitar thingy.

10. Skip Tracer. Lee doing his usual beat poetry shenanigans. Nice but nothing great. Music is pretty boring for him. Again, drop the vocals lower...please or just shout. anything. just don't SING!

11. Diamond Sea. I know this has its fans on here and (vocals aside) it does have some awesome moments. Musically the best thing on the album by far. I still can't see how it's the classic that some say it is though. Maybe if they could've kept it as an instrumental - which, to be fair, it basically is anyway.

Even the good tracks on here (Becuz, Junkie's Theme and Diamond Sea) aren't THAT great, and certainly don't save what I really think is one of SY's worst albums.
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Old 08.27.2007, 11:13 PM   #2
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cool i'll listen to this tomorrow and come back with my thoughts!
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Old 08.27.2007, 11:15 PM   #3
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I'm glad we agree on this. It gets WAY too much praise for their worst album.
However, I disagree completely on Junkie's Promise... I hate that song. Mainly it's the vocals that bother me. In fact, on all the songs I don't like, it's the vocals fault.
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Old 08.27.2007, 11:48 PM   #4
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Skip Tracer is my all time favorite Ranaldo poetry tune, I love Kim Deal's parts on Little Trouble Girl, Junkie's Promise grooves righteously, the second half of Becuz is amazing, Washing Machine is sexy as hell, The Diamond Sea is the epitome of lovely.
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Old 08.28.2007, 01:53 AM   #5
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I'll love this album forever. It was my first Sonic Youth encounter.
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Old 08.28.2007, 03:11 AM   #6
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Okay.. listening now.. I'll do the track-by-track thing like you did..

1. Becuz. Simple and repetetive yet it builds to.. something.. strangely hooky.. "mature" Sonic Youth.. the vocals are mixed a bit loud and the guitars sound like they were covered in chlorine.. nice..

2. Junkie's Promise. This one isn't offensive or anything, it's just.. it's just kinda of there...

3. Saucer-Like. Probably the worst Lee Ranaldo song.. but that still makes it far and above most every other sonic youth song.. lots of nice guitar shit..

4. Washing Machine. This track, musically, is godhead.. in fact, it might be one of their best songs musically, if not their best song.. (maybe cross the breeze and rain on tin beat it by a few hairs).. but the vocals are TERRIBLE. TERR-I-BLE. God, can you imagine how this track would be percieved nowadays if Kim hadn't have sang on it? It's honestly amazing.. it's just.. "WENT AND BOUGHT A SODA POP HE'S SO NEAT" Ugh. Worst vocal delivery ever.

5. Unwind. No complaints.

6. Little Trouble Girl. Uh.. the most obvious B-Side-candidate ever, somehow suck onto the album as some kind of "centerpiece" and went on to become a single! Ugh. Kim Deal is one of my all time favorite singers, she has a beautiful voice, but.. wow.

7. No Queen Blues. Okay, I love this song. Not sure why. There's something about the spindly, winding guitar lines... they're delightfully tacky.. yet refined.. nice..

8. Panty Lies. Heh. On the old sonic youth board, one of my first posts was "WORST SONIC YOUTH SONG?" And I think most of us agreed panty lies is it.. but, actually, I've grown to appreciate the weird guitar stuff on this and the weird production.. still feels a bit off (not in a good way, either), but it's certainly not the worst sy song.

9. Untitled. Great!

10. Skip Tracer. Well, this is probably my 2nd favorite Sonic Youth song, the best Lee song, and the song I covered.. so.. I've always been obsessed with this track.. there's something about it.. I dunno.. and I've seen the band he's describing in this track, Mecca Normal..

11. Diamond Sea. It's beautiful but it's not necassarily something I enjoy listening to much. I loved this one a lot when I was 15.

edited, for clarity: So, yeah, this album is a bit rought around the edges, but I still think it is their 2nd best album (right behind A Thousand Leaves) since Daydream. Heh.
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Old 08.28.2007, 03:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
So, yeah, this album isn't very good but all in all, their 2nd best album (right behind A Thousand Leaves) since Daydream. Heh.
I don't understand a word you said )
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Old 08.28.2007, 03:40 AM   #8
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sorry i'm robo'd.
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Old 08.28.2007, 05:47 AM   #9
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washing machine is their least consistent album.
i mean, there's absolute gold (diamond sea, skip tracer)
next to absolute shit (panty lies, trouble girl).
so its not one of my favorites
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Old 08.28.2007, 06:17 AM   #10
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exactly my thoughts
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Old 08.28.2007, 06:19 AM   #11
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I don't know, it's a matter of opinion after all, isn't it? I personally, love Panty Lies much better than Saucer-like or Junkie's promise.

Yay, another senseless post ;-)
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Old 08.28.2007, 11:06 AM   #12
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i thought panty lies was was horrible when i first started listening to it. but it grooved into my attention span not long after the song started. i like it.

i listen to diamond sea all the time. i dont understand why everyone hates thurston's voice.
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Old 08.28.2007, 11:26 AM   #13
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This album has some get sprawl to it. The only SY LP to get most of it's play in the US amphitheatre setting. One of the most punk b-sides SY have ever put out (yep that's MY ARENA) and the title song is like an Italian ice in the summer time.

 
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Old 08.28.2007, 11:39 AM   #14
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the diamond sea really is the most beautiful thing i ever heard.
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Old 08.28.2007, 12:09 PM   #15
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My fave album in my opinion the others don't even compare.
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Old 08.28.2007, 12:12 PM   #16
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ok, lets give it a listen.

becuz - boring rhythm. like a repeating beep. kims vocals follow the same vein. in fact, everything follows the same vein. however, when the mad guitar stuff starts - WOW! my favourite sonic youth moment ever - always liked this. then i listened to it on acid once. ouch. great stuff. my friends were freaked out in a good way.

junkies promise - sounds like throwaway from dirty. again, boring rhythm that everything conforms to. lyrics are like something from some angsty kids deadjournal. pretension without poetry. when steve starts picking it up in the middle we get some better variation between the instruments. nothing special, though.

saucer-like - a cornerstone from lee. i don't particularly like this track but it is very prophetic of the stuff he goes on to do on later albums. i like his little monologue and the concept behind the lyrics in general, but wouldn't call it his most poetic piece.

washing machine - really bad song, but i love it. it's that playgroundy stuff again, i don't think it's supposed to be refined and intellectual, just fun. it's certainly fun. flies around a lot and the passages aren't so subtle. it's like someone with bad memory and/or drug-fuelled attention problems telling a story. it's like listening to grandmother speak about when she was a kid (if your grandmother is courtney love). another great one when 'under the influence'.

unwind - comedown material. sweet little ditty to put you in the right mood then some sweet, sweeping guitars to take you on a little journey with a nice little beat defining the crests and troughs. brings you back safely before you turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

little trouble girl - sweet-ish song. i like the little girl lost stuff going on here. detest the chorus - awful awful awful. could be jc-like but for the chorus.

no queen blues - like someone else said, i like this song but not sure why.

panty lies - not sure about this song. it has it's moments but overall pretty bland.

untitled - like the recycling of little trouble girl and other songs on the album found in here. it's like a rough demo of the whole album in 2 1/2 minutes. good place for it to appear if you're on something as it links everything together.

skip tracer - like saucer-like in it's prophecy, but with longer eyesight. love the poetry here.

diamond sea - i think the praise of this track is justified in every way possible. it's 20 minutes long not because they decided it should be, but simply because that's how long it is. it's organic, interesting every step of the way and flows wonderfully. thurstons strongest song lyrically. everyone has their own take on it - for me the key concept is time. "blood crystallised to sand" invokes images of egg timers to me and our inevitable aging. blood is often used as a metaphor for life, sand of time. of course there is the diamond sea itself (which possibly laps at the crystallised sand?). with all the references to mirrors i've always taken the diamond sea to be the mirror itself. i just get this grand image of self-image, time, change and consistency, life, death and legacy. it works on so many levels. love the reversal at the end.

"The Furies are at home in the mirror; it is their address. Even the clearest water, if deep enough can drown. Never think to surprise them. Your face approaching ever so friendly is the white flag they ignore. There is no truce with the Furies. A mirror's temperature is always at zero. It is ice in the veins. Its camera is an x-ray. It is chalice held out to you in silent communion, where gaspingly you partake of a shifting identity never your own."
Reflections by R. S Thomas
From "No Truce with the Furies", 1995
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Old 08.28.2007, 12:43 PM   #17
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i guess i need to take acid to understand this album.
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Old 08.28.2007, 12:59 PM   #18
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Nah just a shit load of pot.
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Old 08.28.2007, 03:02 PM   #19
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this is the best SY album since daydream nation, and there's only 4 albums better than this. panty lies is the worst track, but even that's pretty good.
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Old 08.28.2007, 03:26 PM   #20
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I got into this album heavily it was my first full SY album I listened to. I got into every album afterward. First time I heard SY's music was on Pump Up the Volume after that the Judgement Night soundtrack. But Washing Mashine in my opinion is full on noise & good music, I guess it might have to do something with being baked riding through the city on my skateboard & somehow it all made sense to me. I have a deep appreciation for this album & it's my favorite work by SY second to that would be Sister then DDN then Evol & 1000 leaves. All other albums aren't the same I have most of their stuff but Washing Mashine is the Cream of the crop!!! Why don't you write the reasons you dislike an album like RR? I like RR but it's just soft compared to WM. WM is raw & gritty plus it makes me think what's behind those lyrics or how they made certain effects which are rare in later SY albums. Skip Tracer is my fav. Lee song & Diamond Sea is unique nobody can make an album like WM it's just got so much going on.
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