Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  Goo (deluxe edition)  
  Sonic Youth  
Release Date:


Original Release Date:
Reviewed by:

I remember the first time I heard Sonic Youth. It literally turned my world upside down. It was this album, originally released in 1990. I remember buying Goo in a mall record store called Camelot Music. I remember finding out about SY, buying past albums, becoming a fan. I also remember some dude in my high school science class looking at the CD insert and finding the photo of Lee Renaldo in drag rather arousing. Then I told him it was a guy. He balked at me, told me I was a freak, and I realized I loved this band.

Itís the re-mastered album thatís the main draw here. The album sounds great, with perhaps a volume boost, maybe some more sounds that didnít exactly "pop" on the original release. It doesnít sound different, but itís an improvement. Itís definitely a new level for the album. Thereís also several out-takes and b-sides on the first disc, as well as a second disc with demos and more outtakes.

With the first track, Dirty Boots, the album is an instant classic. Thereís the obligatory delving into beautiful noise noodling that is SYís signature. I always loved this. It made me feel like anyone can do this, and it made listening to and creating music as a whole more approachable. I ultimately hold SY responsible for expanding my musical taste.

By the time Tunic (Song for Karen) comes up, you have to leave the album on for the next 40 minutes. It is a rule. This is a track that just shows off how much grit the band has. Itís the subtle, off timed drumbeat, with the slightly off tuned background guitar tracks, and sub-bass domination, that all combines to make the song scary, and ultimately real. A little too real for me to comprehend when I was only 14.

Mary-Christ: a post punk masterpiece. Blazingly fast and frighteningly brutal. This song inspired me to make my first guitar have a whammy bar on it. Also an introduction to rock album reiteration (the end of the song fades out as the beginning of the next track is played.)

Kool Thing. Probably considered a hit. I think I remember actually seeing this video played on MTVís 120 minutes. The track features public enemyís Chuck D. That blew a lot of people away. Remember the context here: Lollapalooza was happening in 91, featuring Ice-Tís Bodycount, and a couple of years later there was that shitfest movie: Judgement Night, featuring all these crazy rap rock collaborations. It could be safe to say SY ushered in the idea, but I donít necessary hold them responsible for Limp Biskit -- thatís Aerosmith/Run DMC Ďs fault.

Mote. A mid-album sleeper. Not much, but notably featured is the vocals of Lee Renaldo. A steady rock song, with the SY signature rhythm gallop, completed with an end of song noise fade.

My Friend Goo. This is the song that I fell in love with. Itís also probably one of the more annoying to my wife. Perhaps itís the possibly threatening voice of Ms. Kim Gordon, or the silly "Pee Yoo" lyrics.

Disappearer. Another sleeper hit, but features some prominent guitar sounds that I honestly donít remember hearing before. I love those tones! Imagine a hollowed out concrete tube, with a full stack at the end of it. Thatís what the guitars sound like: very pointed and focused.

Mildred Pierce. Named after a 1945 Film Noir featuring Joan Crawford, one can only assume by the scattered lyrics that the band feels strongly for the movie. It is, however, completely in the air as to their opinion of the film. You would have to ask the band.

Cinderellaís Big Score. I think this song is about Kim Gordonís little brother. Itís a brutal tale about an addict. Itís just a wild track, with a lot of fire really being tossed around in the music. Itís also very complex, and has a lot of progression and drastic measure changes. One of my favorites.

Scooter & Jinx. The video for this song on the DVD says it all. SY are not afraid of anything, including the involvement of photographer/filmaker Richard Kern directing the video. The song? Itís 1.05 minutes of musical masturbation.

Titanium Expose. A finale of sorts, this is the original ending of the album. This is another scary track, with a bit of a settled down tempo. It feels like this song is a bit of an explanation of the album, with the lyrics really being about nothing in particular. Weird huh?

But, of course, thereís also the extras. Demos, promos, live versions. My favorite is the last track on disc 2, taken from an interview flexi disc with an abstract explanation from different band members for each song on the released album. I was never aware that Tunic was about Karen Carpenter. I really didnít. I was about 14 at the time, and was probably not aware of The Carpenters, other than the songs. I was just a young babe in the woods, which SY proudly led me through, to the wonderful haven of underground music. Thereís also a bonus track on disc 1 called Lee #2 that I really like. Itís a somewhat standard sounding track, very Velvet Underground inspired, phaps so much so that it was never placed on the album. On disc 2, there are the 8 track demosfor Goo, which sound great. Theyíre roughly recorded, but I think itís amazing. You get to hear variations of vocals and really cool freak out song finales, offering insight into SYís song creation process.

Itís an honor to write this review. It would be even more of an honor if band members read it. I feel, as do many, that SY have written the book on success in the indie rock world. Theyíve survived, and they continue to create exciting and challenging music.

I also recommend Sonic Youth: Corporate Ghost, which came out 3 years ago. Included in that video collection is the Goo Album video project: a video for each song on this album, all with the same budget.

So, in conclusion, this is a worthy purchase, if not for the out-takes and b-sides, then definitely for the remastered album tracks. If you have the album already, I would recommend giving it away to someone youíd love to introduce the band to, and getting this version for yourself. I always feel a little gypped when record labels do this to us. In a world where the measly compact disc has to compete with Dualdisc and DVDs and albums that come with a bonus DVD, et cetera, this release is simply another choice. I feel, however, this is one of those rare instances where the reintroduction is appropriate and well calculated. I love this band (if you canít tell).

Sonic Youth = Indie Rock Gods

Related Links:

Band website: 
Label website:
Album reviews on EvilSponge: NYC Ghosts & Flowers and Murray Street


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.