KOOL THINGS The Sonic Youth Listening Club. Murray St starts at post 1861

So, The Whitey Album, eh?

All the chat earlier about them wanting to release this at the same time as Daydream Nation. This was one of the first albums SY I heard. Can’t remember exactly but I think I had Bad Moon Rising and maybe Goo when I first got a loan of this from a weird guy I used to know.

Had no idea what to make of it but figured I had to stick with it somehow. Listening to it today for the first time in years it’s clearly a collection of outtakes and pissing about rather than a coherent album but it’s pretty good fun.

One weird memory that jumped out at me. When I first heard this album, I had no idea who Neu! were. For a while I thought it was some proto-hipster shorthand for Einsturzende Neubauten. I was wrong.

First standout for me is Platoon II. The combination of drum loop and really beautiful guitar noise is an absolute winner but it also highlights what they’re trying to do here. It is still pissing about but it’s them having fun with different possibilities that somehow don’t fit into a normal Sonic Youth album, however free that might be.

I know Thurston’s rapping is ridiculous but I’ve had that whole “we’ve been asked to par-tic-i-pate/ in a Ma-donna record for reactivate” in my head for years and I find it hilarious. The two Madonna covers are central. Hearing it again today, Into the Groove(y) is still great and I can suddenly hear where 65daysofstatic got the inspiration for a lot of that stuff on Unreleased/Unreleasable. It’s not like anybody could independently come up with the idea of mashing up a pop song and your own noise, is it?

It’s very silly, but they’re having fun out of ten.


Goo goo goo!

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Let’s Goo!

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My friend Goo
Sez peeeeyyyeeeww

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deluxe version with a bunch of bonus stuff

surprisingly recent article about the moors murders, coz hey, that’s myra hindley’s sister on the cover


The thing about goo right is the first half is awesome. Best run of songs Sonic Youth ever did do. So much fun, melodic, catchy, lovely dissonance and a lot of that shuffely noisy groove that i think they do so well.

After Goo itts not as engaging. Still good but not nearly as good as the first half


I love that they did a video for every song on the album.

Still after all this time I don’t really enjoy the fade out of the beginning of Kool Thing at the end of Mary-Christ to immediately start up again when Kool Thing itself actually starts.

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Dreaming, dreaming of a girl like me

Sonic Youth - Goo.

Here comes the major. In June, 1990 Sonic Youth related their first major label album Goo. the band were apparently pissed that it was on a subsidiary of the main arm of Geffen Records, whether or not this influenced the writing on the band name and album title over the centre of the vinyl I may never know.

The album only got to Number 32 in the U.K. Charts but this was much higher than Daydream Nation (99). Goo was available in Woolworths, so it was much more widely distributed for sure.

So, what does it sound like / where did they head? Is it more mainstream? Well, yes and no. It to me, now, sounds like In Utero minus the full self-destruct button utilisation. I bought Goo day one of release. I liked it a lot, but it doesn’t top Daydream Nation as a whole… yet in paces it does.

Dirty Boots is pretty perfect to kick the album off. It’s still the Sonic Youth we have grown to know. It is more polished but as abrasive as ever.

Then, Sonic Youth go and take the album somewhere quite unique. Another contender for their best ever song in Tunic (Song For Karen). An overwhelming sadness runs throughout the track. Massive waves of emotion that establish Kim Gordon as more than a generational underground rock star. The way those devastating lines are delivered, straight faced - yet laced with emotive sucker punches. It really is hard to listen to it and not feel incredibly sad. The tone of the music, the duality in the lyrics. I read Kim Gordon looked up to The Carpenters and they were painted as this all American band, all happy, yet she said their eyes looked hollow, bleak, like they were masking something, dead inside. Tunic has this musical interlude almost where one can almost sense ascension, the hollow and swelling sounds, the low voices. It’s as good as the band (Sonic Youth) get.

Juxtaposing this is Mary Christ where Sonic Youth go B-52’s crash into the Fall. It’s messy and sets Goo back on track after the previous devastation of Tunic. Nice Kool Thing intro in its fade-out, before, you guessed it Kool Thing. Neat, sharp and maybe it should have been a bigger hit. Kool Thing stands the test of time and Chuck D, despite featuring far less than I remembered, adds a nice new feel and angle.

Ranaldo is let loose on vocals on Mote and it’s probably just me, but this track always makes me think of New Order. his vocal delivery is fantastic before the track falls down a deep hole of experimental noise which it never gets out of.

My Friend Goo like a bastardised nursery rhyme is slabby yet nearing Pop, and Side A is done.

Side B kicks off with a Daydream Nation feel and pull in Disappearer. Moore comes to the front and the song has al the cool qualities we expect from the band. Some great guitars wrapping around each other, picking up speed - and then just legging it. I never knew it wasn’t called Disappear until last week!

Like Blondie on steroids Mildred Pierce comes out of the traps fast. One Way Or Another it descends into hardcore chaos. It is short, but it sure is eventful.

Cinderella’s Big Score conjures up that aural smoke machine that we first heard on Daydream Nation, yet Goo has a different feel to DN, not sure why or how, but it does. Scooter + Jinx is essentially feedback / noise which doesn’t reach the feels of Providence.

Goo ends with Titanium Expose. Like Hawkwind playing Thrash Metal the song is both heavy and light, angular yet, again, somehow Pop in places. It is a melting pot.

In 1990 Total Recall and Jacob’s Ladder were on at the cinema, Twin Peaks was on your television. Primal Scream released Loaded, Adamski - Killer.

From its Black Flag artist sleeve to it’s near defiance to not actually be mainstream I never have know how I really feel about Goo. It doesn’t have the true album feel of Daydream Nation, or indeed a few albums before DN. Yet still it feels like they were exactly where they should have been back in 1990. Making waves. In their own way.

It’s probably an 8/10 overall in all honesty. However Tunic (Song For Karen) is so haunting and emotionally triggering that it alone makes the album a 9…


My introduction to SY and a big seminal album for me, along with a few others around that time just because of age etc,

So I guess there’s a fair bit of nostalgia at play here but it’s an easy 10 for me and listening this morning I still reckon it’s perfect and tbf to myself I wouldn’t say that about a lot of albums I adored back in 1991.

I’m glad they didn’t just repeat DN, reckon they’d reached a nadir of phase 1 SY and needed to rip it apart and start again even if it did piss off a fair few fans.


ooh didn’t know this, just found a playlist on youtube


Love that video so much for so many reasons.

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Goo has always been a bit of an ugly duckling as far as my appreciation of Sonic Youth is concerned.

I love Dirty and I really really like Daydream Nation. Goo sits in between the two and is just sort of… there.

Re-listening back to it this morning has actually made me realise that there are a lot of great tracks and although I have reservations about a lot of it: the highs are still very high (totally agree with Tunic being a real highlight).

I think my biggest 2 issues are

a) Kool thing. I’m still a bit baffled by what this song is attempting to do/establish/whatever. I’m always disappointed by it. One of my fave records from this period is the excellent Judgement Night soundtrack in which a bunch of grunge/indie/whatever bands joined forces with a bunch of hip-hop crews/rappers and created some really good collaborations. Sonic Youth themselves were involved. Not all of the experiments worked but it showed the potential for that sort of crossover. And yet, Kool thing, I don’t really know what it’s trying to say and it feels like a really missed opportunity to produce something better. It bothers me.

b) The length (again, sorry!) Both Daydream Nation and Dirty to me feel like they justify being double albums whereas, rightly or wrongly, Goo feels like it’s 53 mins long because of CD era bloat and… it just could be. There’s no need at all for Mote to have three minutes of aimless noodling on it. Sure, The Diamond Sea has way more but they really mastered that by then and it’s the closer: it doesn’t break it all up midway through.

So yeah, love a lot of it, Tunic is great and the record as a whole holds up better than I expected but it’s not top tier SY for me

7/10 I suppose.


Oh right.

You never owned Corporate Ghost?

Great stuff.

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all the kids doing dramatic looks to camera at the beginning of the instrumental section are so good

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Goo is still a bit of a mixed bag for me, which is kind of odd since I first got into Sonic Youth during my big grunge phase as a teenager (in the mid to late 2000s, explain that! Bizarrely, I wasn’t alone in this and there was a girl in my class who was really really into Screaming Trees specifically) and yet I’m way less keen on their “grunge” phase than any other part of their back catalogue.

Anyway, listening to it today and over the weekend - it kind of reminds me of what I said about Sister in terms of them essentially making BIG CHOONS with their own very distinctive sense of character and their sonic palette. As I say though, I think it’s more mixed here - when it works, it fucking SLAPS (‘Dirty Boots’ is an incredibly charismatic opener, a real tone-setter of Sonic Youth doing a Big Rock Album; and I think ‘Kool Thing’ is a total banger that only Sonic Youth could have made - sugary and subversive in equal measure) but I think there are points when it doesn’t work quite so well. There are points when the attempts to do ‘Daydream Nation’ style instrumental explorations kind of clash with the anthemic production, and other moments where the “Sonic Youth doing a pop-punk thing” kind of slide a bit more towards snottiness.

Overall though, it’s a great album. The peaks are fucking magnificent and the troughs are pretty good too, all said and done


unfortunately though the video for Dirty Boots inaccurately skewed my perception as to what being a shy gig-going indie lad would be like

for this reason the album gets one out of ten both for funkiness and freshness


the spinhead sessions


Didn’t get all the way through Ciccone Youth because I ran out of time, but my overall impression is that it’s a collection of fully formed bad ideas rather than half-formed ones (Master-Dik). Didn’t hate it.

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fuck. this song fucks