My Top 10 Sonic Youth Songs

Image result for sonic youth 1992

Sonic Youth is a good band. I like good bands. and good songs. So I listed some. Is it still good? Whatever.

#10. The Sprawl

  • “To the extent that I wear skirts and cheap nylon slips, I’ve gone native”. With one of Kim’s best deliveries, along with awesome riffs and a noisy cool down, The Sprawl is a stand out track. All of Daydream Nation’s first half is stunning!

#9. Drunken Butterfly

  • It doesn’t get more badass than Kim Gordon’s uninhibited and expressive vocals. On Dirty the band pursued a grungy sound, but in their own special way. Kim’s vocals on this album are even rougher than ever. Drunken Butterfly is one of her more profound moments on the record. The songs bursts with wicked noise over a heavy metal rhythm. The vocal melody is intense “I love you, I love you, I love you, what’s your name”. The noise is structured and appears at the right times, adding meaning to Kim’s expression.

#8. Expressway To Yr. Skull

  • EVOL’s climax is a true epic. With the explosive intro, instantly gripping opening phrase “we’re gunna kiiillllllll- the California girls” and the long drone until it’s all gone outro, Expressway is one of Sonic Youth’s grandest moments.

#7. ‘Cross the Breeze

  • Sonic Youth could jam hard and make cool noise but who said they couldn’t make tight songs to? ‘Cross The Breeze glides in on a nice chimey intro before the dissonance rips in. Steve keeps a steady beat while Lee and Thurston clash. Kim’s vocal line is awesome and expressive as ever. The song ends and returns to a chill closing section before the opening riff bookends it over swirling noise. “Cross The Breeze” is well constructed, tight, and generally kool.

#6. Dirty Boots

  • Goo’s opener erupts into a crazy rock n’ roll meltdown. Coming in slow before slipping into an undeniable and cool groove. For two verses it pumps along before a big build up. Guitars begin screaming, it gets wilder and wilder until…”YOU GOT SOME DIRTY BOOTS!”. The big chorus smashes in, giving a great pay off. Thurston lets out a “HA!” as he furiously scribbles on his guitar. Carelessly smashing along the fretboard. Lee screams along. As soon as the orgasmic pick-up concludes the song refuses to end. It continues to build up reaching no further climax as the drums drop it around. It all ends on a beautiful guitar passage before a final chord bleeds out.

#5. Total Trash

  • On EVOL and Sister, Sonic youth had harnessed the noisy elements of their style and gave it purpose. On Daydream Nation they reached even further highs with the noise as seen on the 7 minute epic Total Trash. The song begins as a normal riff driven rock jam with strange lyrics and a deadpan vocal delivery. It rocks hard but during the instrumental things get truly unruly as the song inverts and melts onto itself. The noise tops levels of pure destruction as the guitars swirl like demonic possession. Not even the drums can hold back the beast as madness continues. It’s completely out of hand. When the main riff does return it’s beaten up and slow and it all ends in a bum note whine. Total Trash completely devours and stomps on itself, it’s awesome.

#4. Cotton Crown

  • There is something so beautiful about this track. Riding on a melodic guitar passage, Kim and Thurston sing the surprisingly lovely lyrics together on different channels. “Angels are dreaming of you” they repeat before it busts into the noisy instrumental. But the part that really gets me is when the line “I got your cotton crown” is repeated. Kim goes one repetition too far and ends with “I got your-“. It was likely a mistake left on the album, but it really tops off the song. It’s a wonderful, twisted but still beautiful song like only Sonic Youth could do.

#3. Schizophrenia

  • Beginning with that pop and bop of Steve’s drums before the deformed and wicked guitar. Schizophrenia is one of the band’s most powerful songs. Thurston begins singing of this schizophrenic sister of his old friend. But Kim’s verse is what takes the song over the top. “My future is static”, she sings as the guitars melt down. Then the last line “it’s coming back to me” as things pick up. Getting wilder and wilder, with those nasty scraping tones. Schizophrenia manages to have the perfect pacing and the right amount of madness to make it very powerful.

#2. The Diamond Sea

  • Time takes it’s crazy toll. The sweeping, destructive and beautiful 19 minute epic of melodic ballad wonder and total noise terror. Washing Machine is an airtight record and it all pays off in the finale, The Diamond Sea is always an emotionally draining song. The vocal melody is really nice but it’s the final act of sheer melting noise which makes it special.

Honourable Mentions

  • Tuff Gnarl, Shadow of a Doubt, Star Power, Catholic Block, Silver Rocket, Tunic (Song For Karen), Kool Thing, Titanium Expose, Sugar Kane, Wish Fulfilment, In The Kingdom #19, Becuz or just all of Washing Machine

#1. Teenage Riot

  • The big one, a 7 minute power ride uninterrupted by noise and Sonic Breakdowns, Teen Age Riot is a driving, hard hitting, hard rocking, tune. It begins softly as Kim pans from channel to channel, the guitars grooving us along as Steve enters. It ends and suddenly out of nowhere screams another guitar delivering forth the most glorious riff in their catalog. The scratchy and mean tone as the song kicks into gear. Thurston delivers great lyrics under a catchy melody, giving only one taste of a wonderful chorus “teenage riot in a public station, going to fight and tear it up in a hypernation”. The song drives back into the intro riff and rides along a smooth instrument. Lee’s harmony parts provide beef, instead of the normal noise and chaos. Teen Age Riot is just a damn amazing rock song that changed my music world forever.

About Kanttila

I like to talk about things and stuff. It's cool.
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