“A lot like Sonic Youth without Kim Gordon,” reads my very first note on this album. And then I find out that Steve Shelley is on drums and Lee Ranaldo engineered and mixed the album. So it basically is Sonic Youth without Kim Gordon.
My next note says, “less noisy/experimental, more slacker.” I think that basically says what it needs to, though it may not be completely obviously that’s another comparison to Sonic Youth. This fits right into the Sonic Youth catalog circa 1995, the year this album was released. Except, of course, it’s missing Kim Gordon.
It’s like this is Thurston Moore’s weekend away from the wifey, cavorting with other women on almost every song, including Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, “See-Through Playmate,” “Cindy (Rotten Tanx),” “Cherry’s Blues,” and “Female Cop.”
The first 14 tracks feel long. Not so much individually, but as a whole you’re pretty worn out by the time you get through that stretch. And then there’s a 20 minute track at the end that does things like sit on the same strumming pattern for the first three-plus minutes of the song. And the amazing thing about Thurston Moore is that it ends up being not nearly as bad as it sounds. Many of these songs are pretty good, and all of them are listenable, though maybe not all in a row.
Still, it feels like Moore runs out of ideas after the first seven tracks or so, save the late-in-the-album gem “Cindy (Rotten Tanx).” You know what would have been nice and added some variety? If you’d done something like have a female vocalist sing about half of the songs.
Really Like: “Cindy (Rotten Tanx)”
Like: “Ono Soul,” “Psychic Hearts,” “Patti Smith Math Scratch,” “See-Through Playmate,” “Cherry’s Blues,” “Female Cop”
Meh: “Queen Bee And Her Pals,” “Pretty Bad,” “Blues From Beyond The Grave,” “Hang Out,” “Feathers,” “Tranquilizer,” “Staring Status,” “Elegy For All The Dead Rock Stars”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Queen Bee And Her Pals – Jethro Tull imagery, lyrically and musically. Mentions Mick Jagger
- Ono Soul – “Bow down to the queen of noise”
- Psychic Hearts
- Pretty Bad – slower. quiet/loud.
- Patti Smith Match Scratch – maybe the second-best song on album.
- Blues From Beyond The Grave – Nice start. Gets crazy boring at end and about 90 seconds in. It’s good when he switches gears, but then he always stays in that gear for too long.
- See-Through Playmate – laser sounds
- Hang Out – atonal, plucky start for about a minute. A bit repetitive
- Feathers –
- Tranquilizer – starts with the whammy bent in effect
- Staring Status –
- Cindy (Rotten Tanx) – great start. almost love. could be love if it catches me right (hint: not at track 12)
- Cherry’s Blues –
- Female Cop –
- Elegy For All The Dead Rock Starts – 19:47. First change at 3:30. gets quiet at 14:30.