ARTIST: Sonic Youth
YEAR RELEASED: 1987
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Schizophrenia, (I Got A) Catholic Block
LINEUP: Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Where Sonic Youth’s promise intersects with its reality.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Finally, an album that fulfilled Sonic Youth’s vision and promise. While Evol was a great leap forward, Sister is the culmination of their SST career and put them at the precipice of greatness.
The trend towards recognizable song-structures is there, and they utilize structures to make an impact in lyrics and sound. Still, they allow Kim Gordon to recite powerful feminism over what sounds like free-form noise (but definitely isn’t). The drumming by Steve Shelley is propulsive and evocative (and really drives songs like “Stereo Sanctity”).
The band was able to construct haunting songs (“Schizophrenia”), first person observations (“Tuff Gnarl” and a combo of creepy first person songs (“Pacific Coast Hightway”). It peters out a bit at the end (after a cover of a song by Crime) but really, the cover is probably the cause of the letdown. Had they re-sequenced it and ended with the cover, it would have been nearly perfect.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The first versions, in the UK, had the final two cuts spelled “Kotton Krown” and “White Kross”, while later versions had it as “Cotton Crown” and “White Cross”
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The CD version appends “Master=Dik”, the first appearance of the Ciccone Youth sound.
GRADE A: Of course not for everyone (it IS Sonic Youth), but this is one of their must-haves. A great mix of rock song structures and avant-garde tuning and sounds.