Evening Spin: Sonic Youth’s ‘Rather Ripped’

DSC04317Not much new to report. It’s Friday and it’s extremely cold. Thanks and have a good night.

Okay, I’ll talk a bit more. So, like I said it’s Friday and I’m extremely grateful for that. Seems like it was an extra long week of work, aches, chills, and not enough happy fun time. What’s happy fun time? Hell if I know, I just made that up. It is a good thing to be back at Friday night. Tomorrow evening I’ll be hanging out with my oldest and best friend. We’ve been stuck with each other since the age of 8 years old and have been acting stupid together ever since. Looking forward to seeing him as we haven’t hung out since the beginning of October. Some crazy movies and drinks are in store.

Yesterday I nabbed Earthless’ Sonic Prayer Jam and Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped from John at Karma in Warsaw. Earthless was expected, but Sonic Youth was a surprise. I was never much of a SY fan, if truth be told. I’ve tried being a fan. I’ve listened to EVOL, Daydream Nation, and countless other albums in the hopes of finding that connection everyone else seems to find, but it was never there. Closest I ever got was Daydream Nation and Murray Street. But when I heard Rather Ripped years ago I found that connection. Of course it’s the album all the die-hards poo poo about, but that’s how I roll. To my ears, it’s the most approachable of their records and the poppiest. It also reminds me of Television a bit and that always gets my attention. I’m a late bloomer with all these great indie bands I’ve been told for years that I’m supposed to love. Sonic Youth, Pavement, Jibbity Joe and the Master Blasters,…you get the point. I just never listened to these bands in their heyday. I would’ve laughed at Slanted and Enchanted if I’d a heard it in 1992. I was all about the power pop and the Joe Satriani back in 1992. Whether that’s lame or not, I could give a shit. I think when we’re ready to open our minds a bit then we open our minds a bit. I wasn’t really opening my mind to different music till 1995. When I bought Monk’s Dream on a whim, that’s when I realized that maybe there’s more to this life than instrumental guitar albums, The Beatles, and The Kinks.

The term ‘indie music’ never really meant anything to me. I still don’t think it means anything to me. I had this discussion yesterday with a couple fellow music junkies in regards to labels and genres in music. Indie music isn’t really a genre. Indie isn’t a sound. It used to refer to bands that self-released albums. Bands under the radar that had a following despite no major label love. Sonic Youth, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and pretty much every band talked about in ‘Our Band Could Be Your Life’ could fall under that category. But all these other bands nowadays that are being touted as “indie”; the ones being marketed by labels, having tours sponsored by beer companies, and playing late night television, they’re NOT indie. They’re bands with backing. Bands owned by record companies.

In 1992 I was 18 years old and loving Lenny Kravitz, Rush, Jellyfish, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden…and Jane’s Addiction. It was a weird time in music, man. It was a time when the jocks, loners, punks, freaks, and geeks inner-mingled. The music scene was like ‘The Breakfast Club’ for all intents and purposes. I was the Ally Sheedy character…except with a mullet. It was still a time when a band strived to be signed to a label and given advances and studio time and tour buses. You don’t need any of that to make it as a band or artist now. All you need is an internet connection, a Bandcamp page, a Paypal acct, and some recording software. Oh, and a job that allows you some freedom on the weekend to play some shows. Some vacation time during the week would be cool, too. Maybe a mini-tour in a van. You can prove yourself viable without the help of record executive money.

What does this have to do with Sonic Youth? Hell if I know. I’m on my second Breakfast Stout, so I’m losing focus(not much in the food dept today.) I guess what I’m getting at is that Rather Ripped is a hell of an album to my ears. The die-hards can have their EVOL and “Dirty Boots” and Frankenstein Jazzmasters. I’ll take the poppy, jangly stuff.

Hello, Friday.



10 thoughts on “Evening Spin: Sonic Youth’s ‘Rather Ripped’

  1. I get where you’re coming from with Sonic Youth. I understand they’re great and all but I could only ever enjoy them in small doses. And yes, it’s freezing up here in Ottawa, Canada, too. Enjoy that stout. It looks delicious. I’ll be tipping back a wee dram in honour of Robbie Burns in a bit myself. Cheers!


  2. I own a couple SY LPs but I only tend to like certain tracks, you could put together a stunning double LP Greatest Bits type affair.

    Pontiac landed today, beautiful item but I won’t get to play it for hours … Curse being an adult!


    1. Ooh! You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Maybe a photo of said beautiful item?

      A greatest hits would definitely be a good thing with SY. Rather Ripped is the only album of theirs I truly enjoy from start to finish. Murray Street as well. The rest goes from inspiring to grating to pretentious…sometimes in the same song.


  3. I’ve got a few SY in my collection and Rather Ripped is the only one I can listen to as an album. The others have good bits, maybe better bits, but they seem like a short story collection rather than a novel.


  4. Goo, I know… But I love that album. I’ve never listened to Rather Ripped–not because of its rep, just haven’t had a chance. Poppy SY doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me.

    On the tangent about indie music and technology, these are interesting times. I can’t get into streaming music or using iTunes, but I appreciate the independence that technology offers musicians (if they have an income). I like searching for new music that I otherwise wouldn’t get to hear. Like some SDM and CH and DD.


    1. It’s a Catch-22 for someone like me, the whole streaming music and downloading thing. On one hand, it makes sharing music for someone like me very convenient and and easy. I have a reach that I never did 20 years ago when I first started writing and recording. For that reason I’m very grateful for the internet and downloading…

      But on the other hand because of that convenience my favorite means of enjoying music -the physical copy- has all but become out of touch. Thankfully enough folks out there still love the physical piece of plastic they can spin and the wonderful artwork they can look at and hold in their hands that the physical realm hasn’t become obsolete. I don’t think it ever will,actually. Who knew vinyl would have the resurgence and renaissance that it has had? I’ll never look down on streaming and downloading. It’s led me to folks like you and has given me the opportunity to make friends(and fans) I never would have otherwise.

      I highly recommend ‘Rather Ripped’. A poppy SY is exactly that. ‘Murray Street’ is another really good record as well. I believe it came out right before ‘RR’. ‘Goo’ came out either my Senior year in high school or right after I’d graduated. Was “Dirty Boots” on that one? They were innovators, I just wasn’t always ready for their innovating.


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