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Music Review: Sonic Youth – Goo

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I have something to admit. The only real reason I bought Goo was because I heard "Kool Thing" on Guitar Hero III.

But it got me to buy an amazing album, even if it was a little expensive.  The record store didn't have any used, which should tell you something.  This album is so amazing that no one ever returns it!

And it is pretty amazing. "Dirty Boots" is the perfect opener – almost as perfect as "Teenage Riot," that wonderful little indie anthem releaed by Sonic Youth in 1988 on Daydream Nation. "Dirty Boots" is also up there among the great indie anthems. Though I'm twenty years old and was a mere babe when Goo was released, I know all the nonsensical lyrics of "Dirty Boots" by heart.

"Kool Thing" is the highlight for many on this album. It is certainly bassist Kim Gordon's best work for the band, but track five, "Mote," takes the cake for "Best on Album." The other songs are good too, but these are what stand out most to me. While I'm on tracks, let me mention that "Tunic," "Mary-Christ," "Cinderella's Big Score," and "Titanium Expose" are all great.

Fans of this album might have noticed I omitted "My Friend Goo." From my conversations and experience, this is a love/hate thing. Personally and unashamedly, I'm a hater. There, I said it.

But Goo is an important album in Sonic Youth's discography, and was released in an interesting chapter in music history – chapter 1990. Goo's sound was what this relatively new "alternative movement" was poised to become on the eve before Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991.

Goo is the perfect expression, the perfect culmination, of what alternative could have been had it not been sullied by Nervermind. Some would say alternative was perfected by Nirvana by being given direction, some would say it was damned by having that direction. Regradless, Goo is part of a snapshot taken of 1990, right before the dirty torrent of grunge unleashed by Cobain destroyed any notion of that 1990 alternative dream.

Cobain is now worshiped as a martyr while Thurston Moore and his bandmates are still recording, touring, and performing stormy, noisy music. In a way it is a shame, but in another way, maybe that's what's best. A band like Sonic Youth was never meant for the mainstream. They are best listened to alone in a room with the door tightly shut, because you wouldn't want your friends to think you're weird for listening to "noise."

Sonic Youth is one of the deepest, most fulfilling, and challenging bands to explore. Goo is amazing, but a small chapter in their illustrious career. Just be sure to open it.

Five out of five stars.

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