Sonic Youth: Murray Street
ok so having finally decided MS way my favourite SY LP (eh? eh?) i supposed i'd better talk about why and stuff.
Like i said, i fell back in love with SY when i heard this album. I bought it when i was drunk, after watching an England game in the 2002 World Cup. We'd gone down to see friends in Bournemouth and cause the game was on so early we were drunk by lunch time, and walking home after the match took us past an HMV where i picked this up.
It mixes both sides of Sonic Youth very well, just enough experimentation to go along side the pop. Tunes like Empty Page and Disconnection Notice would (in my world) be great singles if they released singles, and the long Sympathy for the Strawberry and Karen Revisited prove that the band are still valid and are still pushing themselves (and music) in the right direction.
Its a very laid back album. The tort Plastic Sun is the only 'sharp' song on there, and that only lasts a couple of minutes. Rain On Tin has immense crescendos and interwinding guitar melodies and very little vocal but even that seems like a day out on the beach, chilling in the sun watching the rollers come in. Its a truly beutiful and moving song, and one of the most Human songs i've heard. The only Lee Ronaldo song, Karen Revisited, has two 'parts'. The second section is a long improv jam which winds its way around various ideas and moods, melting you with its charms and devices and the first section seems a bit sinister, talking about an old ex (a theme which seems to repeat itself in Lee's songs)
When Sonic Youth began recording in their own studio you could imagine it was like kids in a sweet shop. So much to do, so many ideas to try out. I think the 2 albums prior to this, and the SYR series of ep's all led up to this point with Murray Street being the peak. 1000Leaves and New York City Ghosts and Flowers had so many new ideas, there was bound to be some duds in there (i'm looking at you, Kim) but they seemed to have better quality control on their ideas fo MS. At the time of its release, Lee was said to describe Murray Street as the closest they has come to a Thurston Moore solo album, and maybe thats why it works so well.
Although i love loads of Kims songs there are always ones where her vocal just grates me too much. She seems to trying a bit too hard to be Avant Garde for me. Lee's songs are incredible and allways sound fresh, but there just aren't enough of them. So Thurston's songs seem to be the stable for me, which is probably why i love Murray Street so much.
It finishes though, with Sympathy for the Strawbery which has 2 Kim vocals. Its a lush slow paced song with bundles of cuddly fuz/noise in the background and an almost Motown back beat and an organ to add to the velvety nice-ness of the song. its gorgeous and is a fitting end to a gorgeous album.