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In Memoriam: Sonic Youth

2011 December 8

This week, seminal 80s alt-rock noise band Sonic Youth announced their ‘indefinite hiatus’.

Not much of a surprise, following the announcement that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, the couple at the heart of the group, were splitting up after a 20-year marriage. And, given the quality of the last two albums, perhaps not all that regrettable, really.1 But still, the end of an era. So, as a SY fan since I first chewed my way through Goo at the age of 16, I thought I might take a look back at some seminal right-on classics.

Into the Groove(y) – Ciccone Youth

One of my favourite things about SY (and side project Ciccone Youth) is their steadfast refusal to change the pronouns, ever. ‘Boy, you gotta prove your love to me’. Yeah you do, Thurston. Cf. also Bubblegum, the cover on the end of 1986’s EVOL.

Swimsuit Issue

Kim Gordon don’t take no shit.

Amazing video, too.

Protect Me You 

Protect me from starving
I am eighteen
Protect me you
I don’t know what you do
Protect me demons
That come at night

You just know something horrible is about to happen. Not sure what, but you know. She’s asking for help, but she’s not the one that’s gonna need it. One of the many ‘WOAH Kim Gordon is kinda scary’ hot moments (cf. Shadow of a Doubt, Hallowe’en).

Tunic (Song For Karen) 

An ode to Karen Carpenter, who famously died following years of anorexia (and one of many instances of the name ‘Karen’ in a SY song – a weird shadowy character who keeps popping up). This is the flipside of that cover of Superstar that every Juno fan knows all about.

Sugar Kane

Not the official video, but it’s kind of amazing.

Mildred Pierce / Blowjob? 

The moment when SY sold out and went to major label Geffen! Although the conditions of their contract allowed them to sign bands they discovered (hi, Nirvana), for about five minutes they were being all ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT and going to name the new album ‘Blowjob’. That didn’t happen, so it’s the alt-title of this track instead, so named because apparently Joan Crawford pouts her way through Mildred Pierce looking like… yeah, you get it. Also, gotta love Joan. And Mildred.

  1. Let’s not, shall we? []
One Response leave one →
  1. December 9, 2011


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