This was more or less the album that put Sonic Youth on the map, and thus it is perhaps one of their most influential. Looking back at the year 1988, which is when the album was released, there was this American indie culture arising and Sonic Youth was one of those bands that became successful in that scene along with bands such as Dinosaur Jr. and the Pixies. The album features a rather eccentric mix of things, but they work together so well. It’s quite grungy sometimes, other times it’s really loud and rather punk rock, sometimes it’s sensual or just droning (a bit like My Bloody Valentine or Dinosaur Jr.). This is what makes this album so brilliant, its eccentricity, there’s no space for getting tired of it.
The song “Teenage Riot” is featured on this album, and it is perhaps one of Sonic Youth’s most famous songs. It was this song that first got me into Sonic Youth as it captures a time period in people, which is their teenage past/present/future. Considering this achievement of it not only being a song but becoming an actual thing, truly makes this an unforgettable song. There’s a lot of experimenting going on with the instruments, however it’s impossible to miss that iconic riff that this song is notorious for. There’s also quite a bit of experimenting going on in “Hey Joni”, but throughout every song there’s those ‘teenage riot’ vibes kept, in other words, it’s all pretty damn loud and thus preciously holds a certain beautiful dosage of punk rock in each song. These vibes are always fuelled by Kim Gordon’s ‘big girl’ vocals (I look up to this woman!), on-going reckless riffs, and powerful drumming. Let’s also admire how original this album is, most of the songs on it are innovative and creative, “Kissability” is one of those songs. There’s a certain art kept between the guitar and the drums, and that builds a mood that Sonic Youth are so talented at creating. “Cross the Breeze” takes that heavy sound that the band has to the very next level, and it works so well in so many different ways.
This album is unforgettable in culture, as it represents big things such as freedom and youth. When an album is able to create a certain atmosphere for itself, then that’s when you know that it is worth noting. Sonic Youth have always been fairly influential to other musicians and bands, and it’s because they were part of that indie pioneering generation in America who were not afraid to be different.