Sonic Youth - Murray Street (Cover Artwork)

Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth: Murray StreetMurray Street (2002)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: jheiseljheisel
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Murray Street is Sonic Youth's first proper album since 2000's boring NYC Ghosts & Flowers, and it finds the band as close to top form as they've been since they became grunge stars in the wake of Nirvana's rise to fame in the early 90s.

A statement like that should, of course, be qualified ?? Murray Street is no Daydream Nation. It's no Sister. It's not even a Bad Moon Rising. What it is, however, is a good album from a bunch of 40-somethings who wrote the book on avant-garde art rock.

Sonic Youth has added producer/Gastr del Sol musician/all around pretentious Chicago asshole Jim O'Rourke to their full-time lineup and the result is a short set of seven songs that, for the most part, have a lot of slick sheen to them and achieve a good marriage of Sonic Youth's experimental side and O'Rourke's keen pop sensibility. The songs are nothing like the Bacharach-esque compositions on one of O'Rourke's own albums, but it wouldn't be too hard to imagine one of these songs on commercial alternative radio in between the latest from Rammstein and Eminem. Actually, that's a horrible thought.

Thurston Moore's voice sounds great throughout the album, and his work on the first half of the album is nearly on par with his mid to late 80s work. Kim Gordon, on the other hand, should probably refrain from screeching so much. Gordon's voice shows her age, and it just makes her sound kind of pathetic. Fortunately, someone must have realized this ?? Gordon only sings on two songs (the awful and previously available from the band's website "Plastic Sun" and the nine minute closer, "Sympathy for the Strawberry").

Murray Street shows that while Sonic Youth are most certainly a bunch of over-the-hill, kicked-the-drugs, we-have-children rockers, they're not to be completely written out of the game.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 13, 2003)

I don't know how many times I listened to Karen Revisited this Summer. And then Plastic Sun would often follow, though it's definitely way out of place. Spectacular Album, since then I've bought three others. Short though...

Anonymous (August 24, 2002)

This album is as close as your gonna get to another daydream nation. of course that just my opinion i could be wrong

Anonymous (July 11, 2002)

yeah the album is great but soo short. I dont really know about the new guy either. i saw them in concert a few months ago and this new guy shows up out of no where. but they still sound good, i was suprised when i heard their new songs. Thurston's voice is great. but this album doesnt beat Sister.

CallingLondon (July 7, 2002)

uh, the guy two posts down is a fucking psychopath. first off, he clearly DOES like the band and the music. i don't know how he could have made that more clear. second, who the hell are you to tell someone not to review something he doesn't like. the point of reading reviews is not to just read "i completely agree with all you readers". it's to see the good and bad points of an album and decide if you think you'll like it. the fact that you told someone to end his life just because he's not completely in love with every single aspect of an album really really scares me.

Anonymous (July 6, 2002)

relax guy, the reivewer obviously likes sonic youth but none the less concedes that they put out an album that he found boring. it happens. so stick to handing the dj, hang the dj, hand the dj...

Anonymous (July 6, 2002)

I say we not only hang the DJ but hang this reviewer too. You sir are a stupid, ignorant asshole. Go die. Don't review their fucking records if you don't like them and their music. What a jerk.

Anonymous (July 5, 2002)

Hey....................like it or not...............its better than new found glory.

seek (July 3, 2002)

The reviewer clearly is a big fan of Sonic Youth and knows their music better than most people on this site, therefore he is more than qualified to give his opinion that Ghosts & Flowers was boring. I mean, it wasn't a very good album, especially for these guys. It isn't disrespecting the band, especially when he gave this album such a great score. Get with it, every band makes a subpar album, and it is every fan's duty to realize that fact and carry on. The reviewer has done that, someone else here hasn't. That being said, great album from a great band.

jheisel (July 2, 2002)

to the anonymous coward who said i did not respect sonic youth by calling ghosts & flowers boring - i have been listening to sonic youth for something like 12 years now (and i realize that in the scheme of things, that's not a long time), have seen them live twice, own all the studio albums, all of the SYR releases, numerous bootlegs and fan-club only cds, etc, etc, etc and i called NYCG&F boring because i can't for the life of me remember a single song on it. perhaps calling it "unmemorable" would have been more to your liking? in any case, it is the only sonic youth album i recall with any amount of displeasure.

waste_elite (July 2, 2002)

daydream nation is an awesome album. fucking classic. sister is too. hell, every album they did in that time period was great. i'm not really into their grunge period though. still, i do listen to goo and dirty on occasion.

Anonymous (July 1, 2002)

I didn't realize opinions had no place in reviews.

Anonymous (July 1, 2002)

To the post below this one, about my post below that one:

There is a difference between liking and appreciating. Its fine if they didnt love NYCG&F, but when the reviewer mentioned "2000??s boring NYC Ghosts & Flowers", that clearly shows a lack of respect. Just because that record had no powerchords doesnt make it boring

Anonymous (June 30, 2002)

to the post below this one:

i'd like to give sonic youth a chance. i mean hey, they were on the simpsons! but i mean if people have heard their music and they don't like it...then that's just it, they don't like it. its not really narrowmindedness. oh well.
Tom Tupa

Anonymous (June 30, 2002)

This record is brilliant. As is everything this band has ever done. NYC ghosts... was a great record, and it only shows the narrow-mindedness of this sites' viewers when you cannot appreciate it. Empty Page and Karen REvisited are standouts. This is a fantastic piece of work

Fustard (June 30, 2002)

The sentence in that last comment came out wrong, i wasnt referring to the empty page and disconnection notice as emotionless alternative, i meant the other songs on the radio now.

Fustard (June 30, 2002)

Sonic Youth has been around for a looonng time, and i think this ranks up their with their best. It may not BE the best, but its great. I also highly doubt this would get too much radio airplay anyway, the only track i could really see being there would be the empty page or disconnection notice, and radio seems to like shitty emotion-less alternative these days. But the (amazingly beautiful) 6 minute instrumental section of Rain On Tin, the extended noise at the end of Karen Revisited and Sympathy for the Strawberry would probably keep this off the radio, though i do enjoy those sections myself. Also, i dont think theres anything wrong with kim's voice. Plastic Sun is a damn good song, though it sort of seems out of place on the album.

Anonymous (June 29, 2002)

I love this album. Easily their best since Goo. It's like a Greatest Hits album, but with all new songs. It really surprised me how good it was.

But you're right, this is no Sister or Goo.

Anonymous (June 29, 2002)

CHEZZ!!! Enough said....

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