The words just aren’t coming.
You might have a hard time believing how long I’ve been staring at this blank screen. I’ve gone catatonic in an attempt to write a review for Sonic Youth’s 16th studio release, and first on indie-haven Matador Records, The Eternal.
Writing a review for one of my favorite bands has turned out to be tough assignment. On one hand, I want to be fair and weigh in professionally on The Eternal. On the other hand……..I really love Sonic Youth.
Alright, let’s start with this: The press release that came with The Eternal‘s first single (the blistering and powerful “Sacred Trickster”) announced that the album was a true successor to SY’s previous album from 2006, Rather Ripped. That is so very true. The experimental spirit behind The Eternal is the same one that haunted every track on Rather Ripped. Fact is, they’ve been musing that experimental side since the release of A Thousand Leaves over a decade ago. But, I feel that with The Eternal they’ve come to perfect it. And this is exemplified all throughout the album with tracks like “Walkin Blue,” “Antenna,” and “Massage The History.”
Another spirit that seems to be all over The Eternal is the Ghost of Sonic Youth Past. Apparently, Thurston Moore and Co. remembered that they made records like Goo in their lifetime. But, instead of just simply re-treading those successful waters, SY decided thrash it all together in a whirlwind of greatness. Sure, “Sacred Trickster” could be confused with a B-Side from the early nineties. But, nearly every song on The Eternal manage to mix both sides of SY together to conjure up a rock album thats unrivaled today. The best examples I can offer up would be “Anti-Orgasm,” “Calming The Snake,” “Poison Arrow,” and “Thunderclap For Bobby Pyn.”
If you want to find a flaw with The Eternal, I suppose that you could argue that maybe it’s not a groundbreaking as previous albums. I would say the mixing of the two sides of Sonic Youth’s musical expertise is a winning and fresh combination. After all is said and done, Sonic Youth have failed to let us down after 16 records now. Like Morrissey did earlier this year, they manage to prove, yet again, why they’re important. And unlike Depeche Mode, they manage to make a “Sonic Youth” record, and still have it be revolutionary.
Here’s to another 16.