🎵 How Good Are They Really 🎵 Sonic Youth

Nina Simone takes second place after a close fight with Aretha at the top.

Artist Rating
Aretha Franklin 4.64
Nina Simone 4.57
Neil Young 4.48
Talking Heads 4.39
R.E.M. 4.38
Beastie Boys 4.36
Otis Redding 4.34
The Velvet Underground 4.33
David Bowie 4.31
The Beatles 4.31
Pixies 4.30
Leonard Cohen 4.30
The Cure 4.28
Björk 4.27
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 4.22
Marvin Gaye 4.21
Aphex Twin 4.18
PJ Harvey 4.17
Stevie Wonder 4.17
Nirvana 4.15
Joy Division 4.15
Radiohead 4.13
The Supremes 4.13
Prince 4.11
Wu-Tang Clan 4.11
Nick Drake 4.10
Pulp 4.08
Public Enemy 4.08
Kate Bush 4.07
OutKast 4.07
Portishead 4.03
Bob Dylan 3.97
Kendrick Lamar 3.97
Low 3.96
The Beach Boys 3.93
Jimi Hendrix 3.93
LCD Soundsystem 3.92
Joni Mitchell 3.89
Massive Attack 3.89
Bruce Springsteen 3.84
The Clash 3.77
Pet Shop Boys 3.76
Blondie 3.73
Bright Eyes 3.71
Rage Against The Machine 3.71
The Ramones 3.67
ABBA 3.66
Kanye West 3.65
Arcade Fire 3.64
Blur 3.61
The Smiths 3.57
Beyoncé 3.54
Bob Marley & The Wailers 3.48
Jeff Buckley 3.47
Idlewild 3.42
Madonna 3.40
Manic Street Preachers 3.39
Fleetwood Mac 3.39
Toots & The Maytals 3.35
The White Stripes 3.34
Supergrass 3.32
The Smashing Pumpkins 3.30
Suede 3.30
Elton John 3.28
Kylie Minogue 3.27
The Specials 3.26
Sugababes 3.22
Rihanna 3.19
The Prodigy 3.18
Led Zeppelin 3.16
Pink Floyd 3.15
Taylor Swift 3.14
Jay-Z 3.14
Interpol 3.12
Los Campesinos! 3.10
The Rolling Stones 3.09
Destiny’s Child 3.05
Primal Scream 3.04
The Strokes 3.03
Elvis Presley 3.02
Weezer 3.00
Girls Aloud 2.93
Belle And Sebastian 2.85
Britney Spears 2.85
Metallica 2.81
Green Day 2.81
Madness 2.80
The Jam 2.75
Basement Jaxx 2.75
Oasis 2.71
Whitney Houston 2.69
Lady Gaga 2.61
Queen 2.60
Billy Joel 2.57
Bloc Party 2.41
Eminem 2.38
Mariah Carey 2.32
Blink-182 2.21
Adele 2.05
Kings Of Leon 2.01
Red Hot Chili Peppers 1.90
The Spice Girls 1.81

And today we look at Sonic Youth

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

0 voters


  • Confusion Is Sex
  • Bad Moon Rising
  • EVOL
  • Sister
  • Daydream Nation
  • Goo
  • Dirty
  • Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star
  • Washing Machine
  • A Thousand Leaves
  • NYC Ghosts & Flowers
  • Murray Street
  • Sonic Nurse
  • Rather Ripped
  • The Eternal

0 voters


  • Death Valley '69
  • Flower
  • Halloween
  • Satan Is Boring
  • Starpower
  • Teen Age Riot
  • Silver Rocket
  • Candle
  • Providence
  • Kool Thing
  • Disappearer
  • Dirty Boots
  • 100%
  • Youth Against Fascism
  • Sugar Kane
  • Drunken Butterfly
  • Bull In The Heather
  • Superstar
  • The Diamond Sea
  • Little Trouble Girl
  • Sunday
  • Nevermind (What Was It Anyway)
  • Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
  • Helen Lundeberg
  • Eyeliner
  • Incinerate
  • Beautiful Plateau

0 voters

The band who inspired me to pick up a guitar. Result: I’m a bad-to-middling guitarist in about five weird tunings, rather than being capable in one


A band I have really grown to dislike. Nothing they did with the guitar was any more revelatory than Keith Levene, John McGeogh or even Robert Smith (around faith). Any achievements they did make were immediately surpassed by Kevin Shields.

Otherwise, the songs are not really there. Just another shitty no wave band critics have been going on about for years (see also: swans). The last three songs on daydream nation are great though but I have approximately no desire to listen to them ever again.

Plus they were rude to Nuardwaur in their 30s and exploited Daniel Johnston (imo).


The bit about 2:20 into 'Cross The Breeze is one of my favourite things in music.

Will need to listen to all the singles today to make my mind up. I’m very excited about this prospect :slight_smile:

5/5 without any doubt.


Will follow the polls with interest as only ever owned Daydream Nation and having just refreshed my memory on Spotify apparently I only ever listened as far as track 5 as I remember those well and nothing after that. Can someone suggest best starting point for the rest of their work?


I went with a 2

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Consistently good, with albums of utter brilliance spread across their career

The famous stuff isn’t even the best


Love daydream nation, it’s still in my top five favourite albums. I just love the sound and attitude. For me, they are fantastic. Even the later albums were strong, if a little samey. Saw them live at a V festival of all places.

Some absolutely untouchable albums (Goo, Daydream Nation, Dirty). Never got into the experimental stuff. Wish I could’ve caught them live while they were still going. Agree with the comment upthread about them coming across as insufferable in the 90s

You’ll probably get a bunch of different suggestions - but I would listen to the rest of Daydream Nation and then try either Sister or Dirty.


4, one of the first bands I remember hearing a lot from my brother’s bedroom and latching on to. Always enjoyed them live too.

Knocking a point because Thurston’s a fucking prick.


Mark Fisher said it better:

It seems to me that Sonic Youth’s very long career has been based almost exclusively on their being “people of good taste” - curators, in other words, who can turn a notionally ignorant audience on to cool stuff. I think this is subtly but decisively different from being a portal: a portal is itself intensifying, there is a mutual process of libidinization between the portal and what it opens onto, whereas SY now derive practically all their credibility from gesturing to artists more marginal than them. (Also - portals function most powerfully when they are transversal connectors between different cultural domains, e.g. fiction and music - whereas many of SY’s references were to music, justifying the trend that will end up in mediocrities such as Starsailor parasiting credibility by association with great moments in rock history.) Ultimately, there’s something very uncomfortable about SY referring to the likes of Darby Crash while continuing on a thirty year, very stable, career as professional musicians and dilletantes. The problem isn’t quite that SY weren’t self-destructive fuck-ups as that they seem to be so pathologically well-adjusted that the music doesn’t appear to be performing any kind of sublimatory function for them. It isn’t that they “don’t mean it” so much as they only mean it, that, like the worst, most self-conscious meta-art, the work is reducible to a set of easily verbally explicable intentions. There is no sense, even in the early work as far as this listener is concerned, that the music is drawing on any unconscious material. (Improv and automatic writing are the worst ways to access the unconscious - discuss.) As Zone admits, like The Fall, SY have effectively pastiched themselves for the last two decades - and you have to ask: even if they were formally inventive in the first years of their existence , how can a group that is “combining and recombining previously-deployed moves into technically ‘new’ but very familiar shapes” be effectively differentiated from Status Quo?



Counterpoint: he really did not



Made me feel a bit ill the first time I heard them in my teens. Think it was the Experimental Jet Set Wotsits. Paid more attention when Sunday was released as a single and grew to love them. 5/5.

Tough to choose a single album. Sister, Daydream Nation and Goo are right up there. But I reach for Murray St the most these days, so gone for that.

Pretty ambivalent about SY. Have really really tried, and I should like them, but yeah, I don’t really get it. Giving them a 3/5 (would be 2.5/5 really) as I can appreciate their albums, but I don’t love them.

Is ‘girl in a band’ good? I imagine Kim Gordon has done some interesting stuff in her life

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Anyone that compares the fall to status quo is quite frankly talking nonsense imo.