Sonic Youth finally shows up! They typically have at least one appearance by this point in the list. This time, all their spots are in this segment.
This is a great one. It’s so big and daring and energetic, so much more complex and interesting than anything that came after it. And it sounds literally black to me. I’m not synesthetic, but in my head, this whole record happens against a glossy black background. And it smells like plastic tinged with a sour fruity ester (or an aldehyde maybe! like I know anything about organic/polymer chemistry). The smell is real, actually: it’s what the CD case smells like. And I can’t not smell it when I hear this record. I’m not sure where the black comes from, though. Could be the CD sleeve, or the room those candles are sitting in, or it could be the many dark Rochester winter nights I spent listening to this, eyes closed.
It’s all good: from the opening pair of the epic “Teenage Riot” and the blistering “Sliver Rocket”, all the way through to the grinding ZZ Top-inspired closer, “Eliminator Jr”. Lee’s “Rain King” and “Eric’s Trip” are great. I even like the Kim songs (actually I like most Kim songs, pre-“Jet Set…”). And even the sound collage “Providence” (the album’s first single in the UK, WTF) is great – because of those classic Mike Watt answering machine messages.
It’s a long one, but it’s a great coherent listen, if you’ve got the time.