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Old 04.01.2006, 08:06 PM   #1
Rupert 'Stiles' Stilinski
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I saw a series of topics like this where they went through every album, people would relisten to the album and state their high and low points. The purpose would be to reinvest some interest in the albums and go for a deeper understanding of the whole album.

I thought Dirty would be a good starting point since everyone knows it well and it is easier to argue than the first "Blue" album.

Here's my take:

Overall, Dirty is far more accessible for a casual listener than anything else that Sonic Youth had done up to that point. There are at least six songs of the fifteen that are catchy after one or two listens. It starts with 100% which is a great "single"... not so structured that it is pop, but hooky and catchy with good lyrics. One of two or three dedicated to Joe Cole? I feel like the low points of the record follow with some Kim tracks that are overly aggressive. Although I didn't like them right off the bat, the slower Kim tracks: "Shoot", "On the Strip", "JC" are better than songs like "Swimsuit" and "orange rolls". Thurston steals the show with the definite high points of the album. "Theresa's" is one of their finest moments, though it sounds better live than on the album. The second guitar buildup is classic sonic youth, but in some ways cleaner and more direct than what they had been doing before. It feels like a logical progression for the band at this point. More accessible, but still disorderly. "Sugar Kane" is a perfect rock song, not experimental, but a high point that never gets old. The end of the album closes out great with the Thurston rockers "Chapel Hill" and "Purr", their catchiest song to date (in my opinion).

The low point is the middle with some of the steam taken out with "Nic Fit"... a pointless cover, and "Youth against Facism" which is just too direct for a band that is deliciously cryptic in their song meanings.

Lee has a great moment with "Wish Fulfillment" and many argue that he should have gotten Genetic on the album. I agree, but it was nice to have a cool b-side/live track.

Overall, I feel Dirty offers some of Thurston's best structured work; Kim's songs are a bit soulless; the more mainstream approach worked for an album during that era, and is one of their better releases. It's one that I'll never get bored with even though its length makes it drag a bit.

Post your thoughts!
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Old 04.01.2006, 08:11 PM   #2
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i agree about nic fit, i would think better of the album if it wasnt there,

wish fulfillment is the hightlight for me though, the guitar work and lyrics just work together pefectly,
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Old 04.01.2006, 08:13 PM   #3
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I never liked Orange Rolls, Angels Spit. The "la la las" are interesting, but it feels disjointed. You're right about Nic Fit. They could have worked Genetic in there easily. It's awesome in its own way, though.

Youth Against Fascism, I agree, it is rather straight-forward with the lyrics, but that's what I like. It's just so weirdass.

On The Strip is amazing. And I've said this before, but the flow of the last five tracks is really amazing. Purr is hella catchy.

Lee's voice on Wish Fulfillment= heaven.
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Old 04.01.2006, 09:17 PM   #5
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OK, here goes:

100%: When I listen to this track, I remember that for me, Dirty is a headphones album. Maybe my stereo sucks, but it is imperative that I really get a feeling for the two guitars in the left and right channels, so I use headphones. 100% is a great start for an album. Most of the interest is in the two guitars noodling back and forth up to the point where Thurston stops singing. Really good song.

Swimsuit Issue: This song has some beautiful guitar textures that are somewhat ruined by Kim's vocals, so I usually ignore the lyrics here. Should have been left an instrumental.

Theresa's Sound-World: cool song. I like the interplay between Thurston's vocals and the guitar playing in the verses. And the two guitar bulidups are great, especially the second one(like Stiles said). Once again, it's about texture and not really about notes. This time, it's the different textures created by the guitars + the bass, not just just the two-guitar interplay.

Drunken Butterfly: I like this song a lot more than Swimsuit Issue. Maybe it's because of the little puppet music video on the Corporate Ghost DVD. I like Kim's vocals, but I ignore what she's saying. I wish it wasn't so easy to understand her. But this song really shows how far SY has come by this point in controlling all of the different noises they make and utilizing them so effectively.

Shoot - it's OK, I guess. I usually skip this song. But every SY song has something awesome in it. The part right before she yells "shoot" is neat. And the end is cool, after Kim stops singing.

Wish Fullfillment - Lee's vocals are always a little soothing, but I don't like the vocal melody in this song. There are also some pretty cheesy chord progressions here. Not as good as Mote or Eric's Trip or either of the Karen songs.

Sugar Kane - Hard to find anything wrong with this song. The opening is genius. And I really like Thurston's vocals here. Even the words. I like the Mary Christesque guitar squealing in the middle. And then it is great when the music from the verses comes back. I think it would have been better if Thurston hadn't started singing again. They should have ended it like Dirty Boots - just instrumental.

Orange Rolls, Angel Spit: the instrumental in the middle is cool. Almost reminds of something off of Evol. I like Kim's screaming on this one and the way it is broken up by those funny La La La's.

Youth Against Fascism: this song has an annoying riff, but I always thought they were making a song intentionally as annoying as the stuff Thurston's singing about. I could be wrong, I don't know. Not a highlight. Why would he repeat "It's the song I hate" over and over again, if he isn't trying to be annoying on purpose.

Nic Fit: I don't hate this. Actually, it's a pretty funny impression, but maybe a little out of place.

On The Strip: This song is a hidden gem and for me, this is where the album really starts to get good. About 2:40 in, the song has an awsome instrumental part with a sort of chainsaw bass rumbling up and guitar strumming mixed with some kick-ass drumming. A unique texture not really heard anywhere else in SY and it resolves nicely back into Kim's singing. And then the end is beautiful.

Chapel Hill: Great song. The middle instrumental part is awesome. There are some short snippets of guitar solos, which is odd for SY.

JC - best Kim song on the album. Gorgeous intro, one of the best. Great vocals and lyrics. And the end flowering into noise is scrumptious.

Purr - probably the best song on the album. Lyrics are cool, music is great. I really like the part at about 2:28. Kick-ass.

Crme Brle: an out-of-tune goofing off ending, which is fine. Seems to work.
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Old 04.01.2006, 09:22 PM   #6
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this was the first Sonic Youth I ever bought, i'd listened to some borrowed cds but that was about it, plus I got it when i was on holiday at the beach, so I have strong memories and feelings when I think of this record. At first, when i listened to it it felt really rushed and punky to me, but then after giving it more thought i began to enjoy it, some of my all time favourite sy tracks are on it like Swimsuit, Theresa's Soundworld, Wishfulfillment, JC and Shoot are all great.
My opinion for songs like Sugar Cane and Chapel Hill are constantly changing but generally I don't really like either that much at all.
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Old 04.01.2006, 09:47 PM   #7
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Old 04.01.2006, 09:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schizophrenicroom
I never liked Orange Rolls, Angels Spit. The "la la las" are interesting, but it feels disjointed. You're right about Nic Fit. They could have worked Genetic in there easily. It's awesome in its own way, though.

Youth Against Fascism, I agree, it is rather straight-forward with the lyrics, but that's what I like. It's just so weirdass.

On The Strip is amazing. And I've said this before, but the flow of the last five tracks is really amazing. Purr is hella catchy.

Lee's voice on Wish Fulfillment= heaven.
i'm not trying to contrdict you guys or anything, but i think in "youth against facism" thurston is saying that when he hears "yeah the priesident sucks, he's a ar-pig fuck!" he means that when he hears that in a song it makes him want to hate the song more than the ideals. but that's just me. i'm not sayin youre wrong at all. to each his own
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Old 04.01.2006, 10:02 PM   #9
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That's what I meant, in a way. It's a cool idea for lyrics.
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Old 04.01.2006, 11:26 PM   #10
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I agree that Dirty is one the most accessible, though I prefer Goo in a head-to-head competition. Max rating = 4 stars and note this is relevant to the album and not all of SY's work. Here's my rundown:

100% - *** Great lyrics and catchy guitar work. Solid album opener...especially due to the drier songs on this album compared to earlier work.

Swimsuit Issue
- *1/2 I don't like it. The lyrics are poignant, but Kim's voice coupled with the music just doesn't work for me. Still, not the worst track on the album.

Thersa's Soundworld - **** Now this track I love from beginning to end. It's not old school SY, but then again they wouldn't reach that "redemption" until Washing Machine. The guitars are hypnotic, and the middle part rips you a new one. No flaws here.

Drunken Butterfly - **1/2 This one took a while to grow on me, but somehow Kim's howls fit perfectly. This is the track that should have been called "Dirty"...that's how it feels to me.

Shoot - ** Mellow, yet very aggressive (in the lyrics at least). Again, not the worst, but nothing that stands out and bites you.

Wish Fulfillment - *** A classic Lee song but the guitar in the chorus has always seeemed a bit off...a bit too forced or predictable perhaps...but you can't deny that this track is Lee at the top of his game. I favor Genetic, however.

Sugar Kane - **** Another "not quite SY-like" but it still owns nonetheless. A great rocker from start to finish.

Orange Rolls - * I can't get into this song...it's just TOO...if that makes sense...

Youth Against Facism - *** I'm going to go against the public opinion here and say that this song is in the same league as 100%. I love the lyrics, and though it is a simple rock song, it works for me. It's also pretty relevant today...about the president and all...and the Anita Hill line is classic (but I'm older, so I get if it's dated crap to the younger Youth fans).

Nic Fit - 1/2 Rumor has it this is what took Genetic off of Dirty. For shame!! I ALWAYS skip this track; I've been known to make duplicates of this CD without it.

On The Strip - ** The second of the 3 mellow Kim songs and it works. Best line "Hold tight and fear a little bit". Great lyrics, great mood, but it lacks the punch in the face of Drunken Butterfly.

Chapel Hill - **** Another song in the same vein as Theresa's and Sugar...and thus it kicks ass as do the aforementioned two.

JC - **** The best Kim song on the album. The lyrics and her sultry voice are perfect....this is Kim at her best (on this album at least). I love it.

Purr - ***1/2 A Thurston rocker that kicks your ass from the first note. It's one of those tracks that you KNOW influenced many bands afterwards. Straightforward, yet genius. Such is the beauty of SY. This is the kind of song that makes want to dance around your room...no matter who is watching.

Crme Brle - * Kind of annoying, but I expect that from album closers. Nothing special here.

Stalker, Hendrix Necro, and Genetic are gold (though only the latter would rank as a **** track). Had I had any input, Orange Rolls, Nic Fit and Crme would be dumped in favor of these.


/mythoughts
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Old 04.02.2006, 04:57 AM   #11
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Orange Rolls, Angels Spit lets the LP down, I think. It's not bad, it's just that it feels like an interpolation on this LP. Which is a great shame, because even with that song this LP ranks very highly.

It starts wonderfully, with the feedback. Good job in a way, as all of that feedback srves to remind you that this isn't the straight-laced rock LP that some would have you believe. The way people talk sometimes, you'd think that 'Dirty' is an attempt at Green Day-style populism, which it is certainly not.

100%: very nice juxtapositioning of feedback and rock song. Obvious single choice.

Swimsuit Issue
: Kim's opener on the LP. Good social rant, hits the nail on the head in my opinion.

Thersa's Soundworld
: not one of my favourites on the LP, and for a while I skipped it, but now I realise that it's a well-placed and well-constructed piece that fits in nicely.

Drunken Butterfly
: the first classic. A great song, truly, full of energy, desire and burning noise. This is reflected, I think, in the quality of live performances of this song.

Shoot: Theresa's Soundworld and Shoot provide an important function on this LP ie they sandwich the maniacal intensity of Drunken Butterfly with something more mellow. This is pne of my favoured trsacks on the LP, nice ending.

Wish Fulfillment
: not one of Lee's best, but good enough.

Sugar Kane
: I sometimes wonder if two or three SY songs would have worked better as instrumentals. THis is one of them. It's still very fine though.

Orange Rolls, Angels Spit
: Um, I don't know what to say. It's never worked on the LP, to my mind. Good live though.

Youth Against Facism
: I love it, it's way under-rated in my opinion. Right from the start it thumps along majestically, good lyrics, great noises, very energetic and confrontational. Lee's performance in the video is great.

Nic Fit: overall, no thanks.

On The Strip: the first of the GReat Sonic Youth Double on this LP, On The Strip has great tune, great lyrics and vocals, and that wonderful instumental part. The post-instrumental part is all the better for it, too. Fantastic.

Chapel Hill
: the second of the GReat Sonic Youth Double, I think this song gives us Thurston's most accomplished vocal performance on record - rarely has something been so well suited to a song. Great tune too. A non-SY friend
recently commented that the inntro bit is reminiscent of the theme from the TV series 'Jim'll Fix It' - it is a bit, but it rocks too well for that to matter.

JC: Cool, nice lyrics.

Purr: the kind of song that one can't help feeling probably had an influence on other bands. Probably a really accomplished piece, from an analytical point of view. But I'm just guessing about that, really.

Crme Brle
: energetic and fun, a nice way to sign off. I can never tell if I like this one more than I should, or if I cleverly appreciate a hidden jewel!

'Dirty' is probably my second favourite SY LP, for all that lists mean. It's a rock clssic, no doubt.
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Old 04.02.2006, 05:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hip Priest
Purr: Probably a really accomplished piece, from an analytical point of view. But I'm just guessing about that, really.

I'll look into this and make a thread about it.
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Old 04.02.2006, 05:27 AM   #13
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You might just conclude that I was wrong. I was just going on instinct, and a feeling that if I were a musician then I'd probably really appreciate it!
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Old 04.02.2006, 05:54 AM   #14
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DIRTY
1.100% - i thinks it almost a jock-rock type of song, its saved by the screechy guitars and feedback and the solo in the middle. i like the video alot for this song. favourite lyric "ive been around the world a milion times and all you men are slime a gun to my head goodbye i am dead'
2.swimsuit issue - one of my favourites, i really like the different guitar sounds in this song, the all build up really well then dissapear leaving just kims voice. favourite lyric "im swimming"
3.Theresa's sound world - the best song on this album by are really long way. fantastic guitar and drums and thurstons voice sounds perfect.A*** Favourite lyric "i know i'd love her to breathe again"
4.Drunken butterfly - good lyrics, i dont like the chorus very much though.favourite lyric "whisper kisses here i'l tell you what i fear"
5.Shoot - my second favourite song from this album, this song sums up dirty i think. its clearly sonic youth but its cleaner and better organised than before. favourite lyric "close yr eyes make a wish, shoot"
6.wish fulfillment - a really nice Lee song. Favourite lyric "yr life and my life they dont touch at all and thats no way to be"
7.Sugar Cane - i know this song inside and out, its probly the sonic youth song i know the best thanks to a coach trip with an ipod containing only this song. and still i love it, its great. its like an anthem. favourite lyric "back to the cross the twisted lane there's something down there sugar cane".
8.orange rolls, angel's spit - A great Kim song. i dont like a few kim songs but this is one that i love. "you better stay away if you want to learn"
9.Youth against fasciam - borring, i dont like this song it has no depth. but i dont think thats what they were going for. i dont have a favourite lyric
10.Nic Fit - whatever, untimate low point.
11.On the strip - a high point, a very good song, kims voice is smooth and fantastic, the guitar is perfect. Favourite lyric "you really know how to be hip"
12.Chapel Hill - this and 'on the stip' go together really well. its like a good kim song then a good thurston song, i like that in the middle thay take it all down then build it all up again, bit by bit, they also do this in 'sugar cane'. favourite lyric "too bad the scene is dead the memorys in the shadows back in time again"
13.JC - More like a poem than a song, i love the guitar here, its sad and moody and i love it.favourite lyrics"another can of coca-cola","quick sand quick sand all around","yr walking through my heart once more dont forget to close the door"
14.Purr - i like the silver sessions version of this alot better than this version, its great but i think its better slowed down a bit. favourite lyric "i learned it all from you how to howl at the moon yeah"
15.Creme Brulee - i love the start. i always scream along 'HOT', its sonic youth stripped back. i always imagine if you were to go around to kims for a jam this is the kinda stuff she would come up with.favourite lyric "last night i dreamed i kissed neil young"
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Old 04.02.2006, 05:58 AM   #15
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"Chapel Hill", that's all I have to say.
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Old 04.02.2006, 06:53 AM   #16
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I always imagined Wish Fulfillment to be about an obsession with a poster girl or something but then it turned out he wrote it after an argument with a friend.

People accused them of selling out on this album but that's not the point. It's only if the music is good. If it was a really bland album and they had exorcised the freakout/noise sections then yes they'd be selling out but they weren't. Look at swimsuit issue or Orange rolls... They could easily of fit on earlier albums.

Overall it's brilliant. The first album I bought and still high on my list of Sonic Youth albums.
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Old 04.02.2006, 07:35 AM   #17
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"Chapel Hill", "JC" and "Shoot" are my faves... but I hate Dirty for total bad tracks for me like "Drunken Butterly" and "Youth against Fascism".
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Old 04.02.2006, 09:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h8kurdt
...People accused them of selling out on this album but that's not the point. It's only if the music is good. If it was a really bland album and they had exorcised the freakout/noise sections then yes they'd be selling out but they weren't...

The name 'Dirty' can be interpreted ironically, as in some people's allegations of kind of dirty deals ie selling out, or the opposite and proper response ie 'dirty' as opposed to the 'clean-cut' image of pop rock starlets the world over.
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Old 04.02.2006, 09:28 AM   #19
whorefrost
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For me high points are Swisuit Issue, Theresa's Sound World, Drunken Butterfly, Shoot, Orange Rolls, JC and On the Strip
Low points are Youth Against Facism and Purr
Purr really annoys me
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Old 04.02.2006, 10:04 AM   #20
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I'm a bit surprised some people hate Orange Rolls, Angel's spit, I've always loved that song.
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