After Adam’s post about The Eternal I decided to go back and do a reverse chronological discography listen to all of the Sonic Youth albums, something I hadn’t done since the release of Sonic Nurse. Well needless to say with the release of the new Yo La Tengo album (not that I’ve listened to it yet, but I’ve thought about listening) and my obsession with seeing every film that was at the NYAFF this year I only made it up to Washing Machine, I will complete my listen over the next few days. Anyway I decided that I should rank the albums as I always do, and even though I am not finished with the complete discog yet I have a feeling that the top picks will stay close to the same:
1) A Thousand Leaves
2) The Eternal
3) NYC Ghosts & Flowers
4) Rather Ripped
5) Sonic Nurse
6) Murray Street
A Thousand Leaves has always been my favorite of Sonic Youth’s records and it appears to still have the same impact on me that it had back in 1998. For an album that I’ve played out, worn down, and made most other people sick of, that’s saying a lot.
The Eternal being numero 2 for me was a bit surprising. The whole reason I did this (am doing this) listening is because of Adam’s review of The Eternal. I liked it but I didn’t love it. I felt that it was too close to ATL at moments and, forwhateverreason, I didn’t enjoy it as much the first 3 or 4 times. The same can be said about NYCG&F but we’ll get to that shortly. After this play through I couldn’t stop thinking about the album, while making my way through Rather Ripped and Sonic Nurse I would find myself singing "Walking Blue" constantly and thinking about Thurston’s dead-on Lou Reed impersonation on "Poison Arrow".
NYCG&F and I had an interesting start. Released in May of 2000 the album didn’t click with me until late August of 2001 when I moved out of New York and down to Nashville. Sitting in my empty room the first day I moved, my parents dropped me off and I had just returned from the local comic/record/videogame store (The Great Escape, represent) I thought why not give NYCG&F another try. I don’t know what I was listening to for the first year and a half after the album came out but that first listen outside of NY, it was a religious experience. Still to this day there is little I enjoy more than laying outside in the sun (weird for me right?), eyes closed looking up, headphones on (sorry Adam but I feel the need for headphones with this), volume cranked and listening to the title track, because nothing ever crashed, exploded and stayed together like "NYCG&F" did, and I still don’t think anything does.