Release Date: Jun 13, 2006
Record label: Geffen
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Pop careers used to be such brief, sudden-impact affairs. The Doors came and went within five years; even the Beatles packed it all in inside eight. The Sex Pistols, bless 'em, said all they needed to with one album. These days, though, nobody ever stops. Thus, New York's favourite avant-punk ….
Considering that Sonic Youth lost Jim O'Rourke and found the custom-tweaked, irreplaceable guitars that were stolen in 1999 before heading into the studio to make Rather Ripped, it seemed that the album could be a big departure from what they'd been doing on Murray Street and Sonic Nurse -- possibly a return to the kind of music they could only make with those instruments, or perhaps an entirely different approach that reflected their revamped, old-is-new-again lineup. Rather Ripped ends up being of a piece with their previous two albums, and often plays like a stripped-down, slightly less-inspired Sonic Nurse. Once again, Kim Gordon contributes some of the best tracks here; "Reena" and "Jams Run Free" are equal parts dreamy and driving, while "The Neutral" is a sweet, low-key love song.
There are now two different groups called Sonic Youth. There’s the noisy Sonic Youth of the SYR releases, the one that’s a part of Unca Thurston’s campaign to expose as many people to as many touchy minimalist geniuses and limited-edition clamor-fests as possible, the one that props up the pretensions of Moore’s and Lee Renaldo’s arty side-efforts. That one’s more of a “collective.” Rather Ripped has nearly zip to do with that Sonic Youth.