Sonic Youth – “Rather Ripped”

Clint Dye and Clint Dye

Continuing with their gravitation towards pop-based realms, New York art rockers Sonic Youth released their 22nd album, Rather Ripped.

The songs are mostly driving and catchy with simple vocal melodies and melodic guitar parts.

Although more pop sounding than their previous efforts, Sonic Youth still finds places for feedback and noise throughout the album. Their originality is also apparent in songs like “Do You Believe in Rapture?” which is filled with washy cymbal sounds and “chime-y” bell guitar chords.

One of my favorite aspects of Rather Ripped, and with Sonic Youth in general, is that they all sing, except for the drummer, Steve Shelley. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon share the bulk of lead vocalist duties while Lee Ranaldo sings only one. This really helps to keep things interesting especially since you get the variety of male and female vocals.

The problems with the album are few: One, a lot of the songs are the same tempo, especially the batch from “Sleepin Around” to “Rats.” And two, Moore’s singing gets a little annoying in the whiny climax to the song “Eyeliner,” a bonus track on the UK release.

If you like previous SY records you probably won’t be disappointed with this one.