Album rant: Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped


Jun 23 2006, 15h25

Rather Ripped

It's been a while since Sonic Youth, one of the best alternative and most influental rock acts of the 90's, released an album. But now they are back with plenty of new stuff. They mix their sound with experimental, indie flavour and post punk elements which leads to an awesome overall sound. But can they make it to the top and release one of the best albums of 2006? We'll see...

Sonic Youth is:
Thurston Moore - guitars/vocals
Lee Ranaldo - guitars, vocals, organ
Kim Gordon - bass guitar, guitar, vocals, trumpet Steve Shelley - drums

The first track of the album starts with old school sounding rock elements and pretty cool vocals. It's typical Sonic Youth sound. A great refrain and a pretty raw yet fun middle part add to the song a lot. Very relaxing yet fun song. 10/10

Incinerate begins with a dreamy guitar riff and a chilled atmosphere. Very good to listen to in my opinion. What I didn't mention yet is the pretty good songwriting they deliver which can be found here. The song gets never boring and delivers with a psychic guitar solo. Awesome refrain here as well. Overall a great track. 10/10

3.Do You Believe in Rapture?
Very rough sound here in the background combined with cool guitar tunes and wonderful vocals. I think the track is due to the mellowed feeling pretty much a warm-up track for the next song. It's still a good song though. 7/10

4.Sleepin Around
The song begins with some pretty scratchy and rough guitars when later some cool drums kicks in. The main guitar riff at the beginning is awesome. I really like the overall feel of the song because of the old school revolting and starting a revolution like sound. That's what I also love about their style. The vocals are sung pretty smooth and get a big thumbs up from me by the way. 10/10

5.What a Waste
Kim Gordon is set here for the female vocals in this song and she still has a great, rocking voice. Besides the heavy feel here there's a happy sounding guitar riff. The song gets a lot of momentum because of many different parts, which get very psychadelic at times. The refrain is neat as well. Another thumbs up from me. 8/10

6.Jams Run Free
This song sounds overall like a second part of "What a Waste" with Kim singing again a pretty similar sound. The ending has great drama in my opinion with pretty fast drums and gaining speeds of the guitars. Pretty good tune in my opinion, I digged the song. 7.5/10

We are back to the male vocals here. "Rats" starts with a pretty heavy background sound which quickly devlopes into a more mellowed part in the refrain. There's also a very nice guitar solo which sounds crazy. Another good song. 7.5/10

8.Turquoise Boy
The eight track delivers good guitar work and doesn't have vocals until the 2 minute mark. They added Kim for the vocals here again which I love. This album never gets boring. The song gets very psychadelic again but mellows down in the end. A very strong song in my opinion. 10/10

9.Lights Out
I love the smooth singing here which is a great vocal delivery. The song is relaxing yet has a bit of a weird sound which I like as well. In the end they have a dreamy middle part turns into the smooth part again. Good job on this song. 8/10

10.The Neutral
The refrain is just awesome with cool guitars and very neat vocals by Kim again. I love the overall sound here. The song is pretty predictable due to the slower part which turns into the heavier refrain but they deliver that formula just great here. Pretty cool song in my opinion. 7.5/10

11.Pink Steam
We continue with the longest song here. The song starts slow but turns into a pretty cool rollercoaster with no singing till. I really like how they build up momentum and drama on this song. The awesome, smooth vocals at the end add great to the song and end it perfectly. 10/10

I like the overall industrial, mellow sound here. The great flowing drums add a lot to it as well just like the low sung vocals. The song is good to chill out to but is basicially a warm-up for the next track but it's still a decent song. They did this formula of the slower paced song on this album now the second time and it's a great thing in my opinion. 6.5/10

13.Helen Lundeberg
I love how the song sounds like demo with different things kicking in. The guitars are really great here and the drumming adds a lot to the heavy feel. The main part with the refrain turns out very hard and psychadelic with awesome guitar work. I really liked how they combined the different sounds to a very heavy main part. Awesome job on this one. 10/10

The last song on the album has a very dirty sound with fucked up sounding guitars and really fitting vocals. What I love is the yet again brilliant gain of momentum on this song and great drama. Awesome song till the end and a perfect fit as the closing song. I also have to mention the kickass lyrics here. 10/10

The Highlights:
Sleepin' Around
Torquoise Boy
Pink Steam
Helen Lundeberg

- You're into "old school" alternative rock of the 90's? If so, then Sonic Youth is a great choice for you to check out.
- The whole album is bades on a very psychadelic and heavy overall sound with different sounding vocals and an overall great feel.
- Sonic Youth delivers in almost each song a great gaining of momentum and add a lot drama in them.
- The album is also great to just relax or listen to in a car. Whatever you do it's just a great pick in my opinion.

End result:



The current ranks of my album rant season (25.April 2006 – 25. April 2007):

1. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations: 8.9/10
2. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped: 8.8/10
3. Peeping Tom - dto.: 8.7/10
4. Hardcore Superstar – dto.: 8.4/10
5. Editors - The Back Room: 8.3/10
The Kooks - Inside In Inside Out: 8.3/10
6. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now: 8.2/10
7. The Bouncing Souls - The Gold Record: 8/10
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium: 7.9/10
9. AFI - Decemberunderground : 7.8/10
The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers: 7.8/10
10. Placebo – Meds: 7.7/10
11. The Sounds - Dying to say this to you: 7.6/10
12. Eagles of Death Metal - Death by Sexy: 7.5/10
13. NOFX – Wolves in Wolves‘ Clothing: 7.4/10
14. Nelly Furtado - Loose: 7.3/10
15. Pearl Jam - dto: 6.6/10



  • bboysgirl

    For the most part, I agree with your assessment of the songs, although I think I like The Neutral more than you do. Overall, I think the album is an easy listen. The only song that seems a tad out-of-place to me is Do You Believe in Rapture? I'm not crazy about it -- but give me time and I might change my mind about it. Sonic Youth's label has posted audio of Mike D of the Beastie Boys interviewing Sonic Youth about the new album. It's an interesting and entertaining interview. It's located at

    Jun 23 2006, 16h11
  • MohammadWDI

    You have a rather large misinterpretation of Sonic Youth's place in musical history. They really didn't do much of anything worthwhile in the nineties, and I don't quite understand why you're lumping them in with that era. I'd group them with bands like Husker Du, The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and other artists of that wave of indie rock in the eighties.

    Jul 3 2006, 18h06
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