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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

on 17 July 2001
Just to set the record straight. This is the best introduction to Sonic Youth at their haunting, poignant peak. Sure it's challenging in places, but breaking boundaries is what the band are about. As with any great LP it takes at least a few listens to get the most from it and I would suggest the reviewers persevere a little more. It's the kind of music you have to be in the right mood for though - songs such as Halloween and I Dreamed a Dream are at their best in the autumn/winter months and are not recommended for those of a sunny disposition. Anyone expecting another Dirty might be disappointed, unless they are open-minded enough to give this collection the time it deserves.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 26 September 2003
Screaming Fields of Sonic Love takes in SY from around 1983 to 1988 where they delivered the brilliant Daydream Nation, prior to signing to Geffen & producing such albums as Goo & Dirty. As a budget-priced primer to SY it offers a clear guide to their works of the 80s, on which their reputation was formed.
The album is in reverse order, opening with an edited version of TeenAge Riot (about one J Mascis)- followed by the gnarly-pop of Kissability, Lee Ranaldo's classic Eric's Trip & the single of Candle (of course one asks where Silver Rocket,'Cross the Breeze & Rain King are/one should own Daydream Notion in its entireity). We then get a Ciccone Youth-interlude, Indie Hit single Into the Groove(y) & Macbeth from The Whitey Album (their response to Pussy Galore's cover of the whole of Exile on Main Street). Again there are omissions- where is the 'beatbox' single version of Masterdik? Or their amusing cover of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love?
We reach the Phlip K Dick-concept album Sister next, Beauty Lies in the Eye features Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus, Harry Crews); Kotton Krown is a wonderful trippy number. But surely Sister could have been better represented: White Kross? PCH? Hot Wire My Heart? Schizophrenia/Catholic Block (the two tracks that should have definitely made it here). Oh well, tis but a sampler!
There are three tracks from 1985's Evol, which heralded the arrival of Steve Shelley on drums- all wonderful, though Shadow of a Doubt should maybe have been ditched & replaced by Tom Violence. No one can argue with the post-Velvets pop of Star Power, or the epic/infinite-Manson inspired Expressway to Yr Skull (or Madonna,Sean&Me!- since bettered by Washing Machine's The Diamond Sea).
A highlight for me remains the single Death Valley 69 (from 1984's Bad Moon Rising- their last album with Bob Bert, who would join Pussy Galore)- Lydia Lunch co-sings this track with Thurston Moore, namechecking The White Album/Manson link as we're deep in death valley, wired on amphetamines, LSD, brainwashing with dreams of Helter Skelter & bubble cars. Wonderful repetition of chords until the song comes back in at the end (there are also three tracks found on the Death Valley69 ep- Inhuman (the opener of Confusion is Sex), I Dreamed I Dream & Brother James- all brilliant/why not include Satan is Boring though??????).
Making the Nature Scene, along with Inhuman represents the harsh Confusion is Sex album (much better than the later Ciccone version); though the classic Halloween/Flower single is impetus enough to own this set (Halloween would be memorably covered by Mudhoney on Sonic Youth's split-single where they covered Mudhoney's Touch Me I'm Sick: why was this left off?????)
Screaming...is a lovely primer of an era of a great band, though as I've pointed out many classic tracks are left off- and many great tracks were yet to come on albums such as Experimental Jet..., Washing Machine, Murray St, Leaving the 20th Century etc. A great intro, but I'd recommend paying the extra and getting Bad Moon Rising, Evol, Sister & Daydream Nation for starters...Sonic Youth, as this compilation proves, were one of the underground bands of the 1980s, alongside such acts as The Fall, Pussy Galore, Beat Happening, The Wipers, Husker Du & Black Flag-
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on 2 October 2002
This gets better with every play. At first I was gunna take this back and get a refund but I eventually became a fan and have since bought Dirty which I think is a much better album. The crazy noize jams are great for freakin' out your mates and songs such as Candle and Teenage riot stand up as great displays of SY's musical talent. Give it a chance and you'll grow to like it.
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on 23 May 2003
As the proud owner of the Youth's complete back catalogue I'm all to aware of just how innaccessible some of their work can be to the untrained ear. For bands such as this, compilations can serve as excellent introducuctions and showcase them at their best, and more importantly their most accessible. The opening tracks from 'Daydream Nation' are all excellent, especially 'Teenage Riot', but where is the brillant 'Cross the Breeze'? Other ommissions include 'Schizzophrenia' and 'Catholic Block' from the 'Sister' album, 'The World Looks Red' from 'Confusion is Sex' and 'Tom Violence' from 'Evol'.
That said, if you only want to buy one Sonic Youth album, this is by far the best bet, but if you can stretch your budget a little try buying 'Sister' and 'Daydream Nation' instead, both albums serve as excellent introductions to the band!
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on 14 February 2015
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on 6 February 2017
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on 1 January 2001
After hearing much about how ground-breaking Sonic Youth were back in their early days, I thought that there would be no better way to sample their music than with their "best of" CD. Quite frankly, if this is the best of Sonic Youth's material, I'd hate to hear the worst. Granted, Teenage Riot is excellent, but most of this album is dire, incohesive rubbish. It's certainly not a very good introduction to what may or may not be an incredible group. I guess I'll never know...
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