ARTIST: Sonic Youth
TITLE: Bad Moon Rising
YEAR RELEASED: 1985
CHART ACTION: No
SINGLES: Death Valley ‘69
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not as such unless you listened to extreme college radio in the 80’s
LINEUP: Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Bob Burt. Lydia Lunch howls on the single.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sonic Youth turns the corner, slightly, and begins their ‘many guitars / odd tunings’ phase and begins to write more actual songs instead of just noisy noise. It’s a dark record, too.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If you weren’t a Republican or a Reagan Democrat in 1985, you were in a dark mood about the country. This album attempts to capture that feeling of impending doom. The songs all are bleak (sample titles – “Society Is a Hole”, “I’m Insane”, “Justice Is Might”) and run together, thanks to the transitional pieces used by the band that were first used during shows as the music played during tunings.
This ain’t a happy record. But, it’s the first Sonic Youth record where most of the songs are actual songs and not excuses to show off their weird tunings and feedback. Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore focus on sounds this time, and not atonal noise. Still some of the songs can try the patience of listeners since they meander on, exploring sound as they go.
The highlight is the concluding track, “Death Valley ‘69”. Written by Moore and Lydia Lunch, this was an exploration of the Manson Family. Such a happy subject.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Those transitional pieces were useful in concert. It took sometimes five minutes to get the guitars tuned properly. Later, the band just toured with several guitars tuned differently.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: All of the CD versions have bonus songs released as singles and B-sides after this record.
GRADE: B-: There’s still some stuff that’s hard to tolerate, but they’re getting better and “Death Valley ‘69” is a pretty hot track.