CD Review

Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped (Geffen)

The best thing going in Southern California at the moment is driving around with the car windows down, smelling the wafts of jasmine and orange blossoms as they drift in, and listening to this perfect summer album on infinite repeat. No, Sonic Youth hasn't returned to one of their earlier styles, although there are echoes of EVOLand Daydream Nationin the guitars on "Do You Believe in Rapture?" and "Turquoise Boy." It's more like the band has discovered itself again in the sound it has been going for over the past decade, meaning (mostly) clean guitars, Steve Shelley's Neu!-beat and Gordon/Moore/Ranaldo poetry-chants—for whatever reason, they all click here. As has been the case with the last few SY albums, Thurston Moore sings sweet soul for the ladies, while Lee Ranaldo sounds like he always has: singing in a darkened room. But the album belongs to Kim Gordon, the band's secret Bob Dylan, who gets in the lovely "Reena," Sonic Youth's most beautiful song since "Theresa's Sound-World," as well as "What a Waste" ("You're so chaste/I can't wait/to taste your face"—and this they played on Gilmore Girls?) and "Turquoise Boy." It took a while, but the band has finally returned to its true subject: young people in love fucking with danger while trying not to get ripped off.

 
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