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Top Customer Reviews
Everyone mentions '100%' and 'Sugar Kane', and both are good, the former a driving, posturing, cool punk number and the latter a radio-friendly, poppy rock song. However this album by no means stops there. Springing to mind is the utterly wonderful 'Theresa's Sound-world' which builds from quiet, reflective melody to a wall of beautiful, heavy, ear-bleeding noise. 'Drunken Butterfly' is propelled by a catchy riff (recently ripped off by Cooper Temple Clause for their single 'Promises Promises') and an earnestly ironic chorus of 'I love you, I love you, I love you, what's your name?'.
Their political drive comes to the fore on the slower, but equally menacing 'Youth Against Fascism', which contains sneering vocals, a monster of a bass sound and guitars that sound as if they are being ritualistically tortured rather than played. The album veers from creepy ('Shoot', 'On The Strip') to all-out punk ('Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit' and the cover of 'Nic's Fit'). The more commercial 'Chapel Hill' sits alongside 'Sugar Kane' nicely, but every track on here has a sense of melody. Then there is a bit of lunacism, like the strange and twisted closer 'Creme Brulee'.
Every track on this album digs its own musical furrow and the album is all the better for it as despite its length of 15 tracks each one is worthy of high acclaim.Read more ›
The songs on Dirty are short, angry, lean, tight and muscular. They are shot through with an urgent, breathless energy. The whole album has a punchy, chunky, straightforward sound and a clean Butch Vig production that admittedly sets it closer to Lollapalooza-era alternative rock than to previous Sonic Youth albums like EVOL, Sister or Daydream Nation. My only slight reservation is that in straying so close to Nirvana's grunge/punk territory, they don't sound as instantly distinctive as they do on, say, Sister, so it's not necessarily the most representative album of what Sonic Youth are about.
By the Youth's avant-garde art-rock standards these songs are relatively catchy, poppy and radio-friendly, but please don't let snobbery get in the way of a great rock album. There is so much to enjoy here, and there's still plenty of hard-rocking white noise for feedback fanatics to savour. Highlights include Kim Gordon's seductive, menacing Shoot; the brutal, hard-as-nails punk tantrums Swimsuit Issue and Drunken Butterfly; and the classic singles 100% and Sugar Kane.
I gave the album 7 out of 10 so the question was...3 or 4 stars. I opted for 4 because the album did get better the more I listened to it.
I've always liked and admired Sonic Youth since I first heard them on John Peel in the mid 80s. Indeed, 'Schizophrenia' from their 'Sister' album remains one of my favourite songs from that decade by anyone. But try as I might, I just cannot love them. I think the reason for that is that SY just don't have enough tunes. They seem to favour noise and experimentalism over melody whereas my pallette is geared to the balance being the other way around. SY's contemporaries, for example, Husker Du, Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins and, of course, Nirvana, concentrated more on melody than noise and it is no coincidence that those I bands I love.
That said, Dirty does have enough good tunes for me to register a positive rating as there are only about 4 or 5 songs on it that I would consider as virtually unlistenable leaving enough tracks to get your ears around which range between ok to very good. Standouts for me include a brace that I remember from John Peel's Festive 50 programme from the early 90s - 'Sugar Kane' and 'Youth Against Fascism'. Also, 'Theresa's Sound World', 'Wish Fulfillment' and 'Chapel Hill'. For those of you thinking of trying out Sonic Youth, I would say this album is a good place to start. Others in the music club suggested Goo, from the year before, as also being amongst their more accessible works.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dis is s***e,jus cos u r dirty (hiigh) does n'[t mean u r gd. Anything sounds gd when u r on cocaine n lsd - when they rock out I quickly stop the song,and put on another record. Read morePublished on 1 May 2014 by J. Simpson
One of the best albums by the greatest Sonic Youth.
A must have album for sure. Buy it, not a doubt!