BCB 100 - Sonic Youth

Do we know what we like? We even talk about it!
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PENK
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Postby PENK » 27 Jun 2006, 12:58

G-Z wrote:they are an incredibly obnoxious, pretentious band


And that's your defence?

G-Z wrote:if you don't like guitar music it's probably not your thing.


Have you actually read anything I've said? How many times do I need to say I like guitar music and I like a lot of bands who are similar to Sonic Youth, I just don't like Sonic Youth?

but recognising a band's flaws does not in any need to detract from enjoyment of the music


No. I'm aware of flaws in many of my favourite bands.
But none of them are so deeply, incontrovertibly flawed as Sonic Youth, or on such basic levels.

innovative: there was no wave, heavy guitar music before, but SY brought it to new levels. their tunings, layers and texture are highly innovative to the point of ground-breaking.


Doesn't mean they were any good.

melodic: you may not like some of the melodies, but so much of their stuff is pure pop (catholic block, sunday, dirty boots, my friend goo). 'simple' and 'obvious' melodies is nonsensical given the above, and certainly i've never heard them rip anyone off. this isn't Am to C to F to G.


Doesn't mean they were any good.
It doesn't matter what key their melodies are in, or what chord sequences you use. They could be in any kind of unconventional, complex key, and yet still be the dull, simplistic whimpers they are.

limited vocal capacity/lyrics: only really lee ranaldo knows how to sing, but the three singers know how to interact very well. their lyrics are often awful, but i find very few artists that intrigue me lyrically anyway.


As far as I can see none of the detractors have even brought that up on this thread. You're not doing yourself any favours.

influence: they have raised the profile of countless bands, both new and old, and are largely responsible for the regeneration of artists like sun ra and loads of jazz artists, in addition to the obvious 'grunge' influence. of course this was a kiss of death for many people, but SY are possibly the most influential band in art (in the most general possible way to use the term) that i can think of.


Doesn't mean they were any good.
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Postby Geezee » 27 Jun 2006, 14:00

Penk wrote:
G-Z wrote:they are an incredibly obnoxious, pretentious band


And that's your defence?


Never said anything about defence. But if I don't like intolerance from muso's in particular, and encounter it very seldom here actually. i think its important to keep things in perspective, and you miss an important aspect of 'facts' when you say that they are facts 'to you'...one of the most common tautology in the english language is an "incontrovertible fact", and i think you miss the 'incontrovertible' part of the definition of fact, unless you want to talk philosophy.

where was i?

Oh yeah, I said they are among the most pretentious band in the world from the outset, and I think if you want to criticise them for anything, this would be the place to start and finish. It puts a lot of people off them, and rightly so. But it has nothing to do with the music, and entirely to do with the attitude. Lou Reed's 'grumpy' character don't make Stephanie Says any less gorgeous. anyway, good or bad is entirely to do with opinion.


G-Z wrote:if you don't like guitar music it's probably not your thing.


Penk wrote:Have you actually read anything I've said? How many times do I need to say I like guitar music and I like a lot of bands who are similar to Sonic Youth, I just don't like Sonic Youth?


Not everything that I write has to do with you mate, I'm speaking of facts here, and you to have to speak in general terms to do so. I'm sure loads of people who love guitars hate SY, and loads of people who love dance and R&D love SY. But generally speaking, people who don't like guitars I'd have thought would not like SY.

Penk wrote:
but recognising a band's flaws does not in any need to detract from enjoyment of the music


No. I'm aware of flaws in many of my favourite bands.
But none of them are so deeply, incontrovertibly flawed as Sonic Youth, or on such basic levels.


See now this is where your zero (in)tolerance approach exposes an a bit of a nonsensical point of view i think. None of what you say is incontrovertible, none of it is fact.

Penk wrote:
innovative: there was no wave, heavy guitar music before, but SY brought it to new levels. their tunings, layers and texture are highly innovative to the point of ground-breaking.


Doesn't mean they were any good.


Again, I'm not talking about good/bad, because those are opinions. If you don't like SY, fine, express your opinions as much as you want, but don't in any way put them foward as facts. Not even if they are facts to yourself, because there is no such reality.

Penk wrote:
melodic: you may not like some of the melodies, but so much of their stuff is pure pop (catholic block, sunday, dirty boots, my friend goo). 'simple' and 'obvious' melodies is nonsensical given the above, and certainly i've never heard them rip anyone off. this isn't Am to C to F to G.


Doesn't mean they were any good.
It doesn't matter what key their melodies are in, or what chord sequences you use. They could be in any kind of unconventional, complex key, and yet still be the dull, simplistic whimpers they are.


I think you can accuse SY of a lot of things, and, as you note, I do...but dull is not one of them. For me, they are an incredibly multi-dimensional band who experiment in the the true nature of the word, exposing a richly dark, bloody vein which connects jazz with indie rock. Again, whether you think any of it is 'good' or not is a matter of taste

Penk wrote:
limited vocal capacity/lyrics: only really lee ranaldo knows how to sing, but the three singers know how to interact very well. their lyrics are often awful, but i find very few artists that intrigue me lyrically anyway.


As far as I can see none of the detractors have even brought that up on this thread. You're not doing yourself any favours.


I'm not trying to do anyone any favours. I think this is objectively speaking something you can say about them. Your 'facts', as I see them, are by their nature deeply flawed, and I think you can have a far more informed debate about it.

Penk wrote:
influence: they have raised the profile of countless bands, both new and old, and are largely responsible for the regeneration of artists like sun ra and loads of jazz artists, in addition to the obvious 'grunge' influence. of course this was a kiss of death for many people, but SY are possibly the most influential band in art (in the most general possible way to use the term) that i can think of.


Doesn't mean they were any good.
[/quote]

[sigh]
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Postby Mr Maps » 27 Jun 2006, 14:51

I've always liked Sonic Youth. The last four or five haven't grabbed me that hard. I listened to them two or three times a week for the first few weeks they were out and then filed them thinking they were pretty good but nothing about them inspired me to pull them out again months down the road.
Hopefully the latest will be different.
I never got into the stuff they released on their own label and probably won't bother.
I saw them on the Goo tour with Nirvana opening and they were great just when I was afraid they were going pop.

Evol and Sister remain my favourites.
nathan wrote:I realize there is a time and a place for unsexy music, but I personally have no time for it.


Django wrote: It's video clips of earnest post-rock I want, and I have little time for anything else.

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Postby PENK » 27 Jun 2006, 15:24

G-Z wrote:Never said anything about defence. But if I don't like intolerance from muso's in particular, and encounter it very seldom here actually. i think its important to keep things in perspective, and you miss an important aspect of 'facts' when you say that they are facts 'to you'...one of the most common tautology in the english language is an "incontrovertible fact", and i think you miss the 'incontrovertible' part of the definition of fact, unless you want to talk philosophy.


The only intolerance in my post was directed at you for making such a stupid fucking post of your own accusing people who don't like them of being "fucked up in the brain" and "Nazi worshippers."
If that isn't intolerance then I don't know what the fuck is. I've tried to keep things reasonable and good-humoured throughout this thread, and agreed to disagree with most of the fans, but anyone who is going to make posts like that one can just fuck off, as they deserve whatever they get.

And no I don't miss the 'incontrovertible' part of the word 'fact.' If you're going to be so pedantic about these things then you can't say anything about music. It's probably not a proven fact that the Beatles were great songwriters but that Sonic Youth are bad ones is just as close to being verifiable.

Oh yeah, I said they are among the most pretentious band in the world from the outset, and I think if you want to criticise them for anything, this would be the place to start and finish.


No it wouldn't. Why the fuck would it be? There's plenty of other stuff to criticise about them, as I already have done. The pretentiousness is just one aspect.

I'm sure loads of people who love guitars hate SY, and loads of people who love dance and R&D love SY. But generally speaking, people who don't like guitars I'd have thought would not like SY.


What's "R&D"?
People who don't like guitars?

Penk wrote:See now this is where your zero (in)tolerance approach exposes an a bit of a nonsensical point of view i think. None of what you say is incontrovertible, none of it is fact.


Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. But you're accusing everything I've said of being presented as 'fact.' I said that the band were incontrovertibly flawed in general, and I don't know how anyone could aspire to claim otherwise, because even the most ardent fan would not suggest they were perfect. And aside from that I've said that they're bad at writing melodies. Which, to me, is true. In that department, they bring nothing new or interesting to the table. They're obvious, predictable and simplistic. Fair enough if you like it, but it is nothing surprising or imaginative. I said that this was a fact to me, and I think it is the most obvious thing about them whenever I hear them. Plenty of other people say they like the melodies, I disagree. I've not really said it as a statement of fact.
As for the rest of what I've said, it is my own opinion, one that is shared by several other people, and I've not claimed it's anything other than that. I've said that they fail to convince and that they're more about pose, but there's nothing there to prompt you to make the leap to assuming I'm presenting all of my criticisms as facts.
And what is the difference between someone stating beliefs on here and someone getting paid to do it as a reviewer? A reviewer is never going to write "I think they're a bit crap," they're going to write "the melodies are weak, the production subdued and the performance woefully short on attitude." Although actually most reviewers will suck Sonic Youth's collective cock, because they're one of those bands who are seemingly exempt from criticism in the music press. But most people on here, myself included, frequently state things as facts. Some do little else.

Again, I'm not talking about good/bad, because those are opinions. If you don't like SY, fine, express your opinions as much as you want, but don't in any way put them foward as facts. Not even if they are facts to yourself, because there is no such reality.


You're repeating yourself.

I think you can accuse SY of a lot of things, and, as you note, I do...


Do you? I thought all you could accuse them of was pretentiousness?

but dull is not one of them. For me, they are an incredibly multi-dimensional band who experiment in the the true nature of the word, exposing a richly dark, bloody vein which connects jazz with indie rock. Again, whether you think any of it is 'good' or not is a matter of taste


I accused the melodies of being dull. Not the band as a whole.

I'm not trying to do anyone any favours. I think this is objectively speaking something you can say about them.


I thought none of this was objective?

Your 'facts', as I see them, are by their nature deeply flawed, and I think you can have a far more informed debate about it.


Yes, you probably can, but I'm not prepared to listen to everything they've done to find the odd track that, maybe by a happy accident, maybe by freakish inspiration or design, contradicts what I say. Because I don't like them.
My 'facts' are only flawed in that they only refer to the songs I've heard. All of which have obvious, predictable tunes and don't interest me on a more cerebral, experimental level. And I'm not particularly interested in developing my knowledge of the band. But I would be very surprised if any of their lesser-known, less praised material turned out to prove me wrong.

Penk wrote:
influence: they have raised the profile of countless bands, both new and old, and are largely responsible for the regeneration of artists like sun ra and loads of jazz artists, in addition to the obvious 'grunge' influence. of course this was a kiss of death for many people, but SY are possibly the most influential band in art (in the most general possible way to use the term) that i can think of.


Doesn't mean they were any good.


[sigh]


I don't know what you're sighing for here. You present me with that, what am I supposed to say? I've already acknowledged several times on the thread that they were influential and may well have been truly unique for a while, so I don't know what you were trying to achieve by just reiterating that and presenting it as an argument.

Oh, and "the most influential band in art"? :lol:
Darkness_Fish wrote:One slight disappointment was that there turns out to be two cinemas in Bolton

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Postby Geezee » 27 Jun 2006, 16:38

dude you need to chill out a bit penk. listen to diamond sea, it's one of the best chill out songs of all time.

but seriously can you think of any band that has promoted art as much as SY? even VU don't come close- they were passively being promoted by art, not the other way around. i can name dozens of painters who have been actively promoted/funded by SY, who set up art galleries and are patrons for loads of this shit- rita ackerman being perhaps the most successful one. and you would not see any of the re-issues of Sun Ra without thurston, or any of the ecstatic peace stuff, or any of the re-released SLR lee hazlewood stuff- only Townes van Zandt's untimely death prevented them from recording a Rick Rubin-esque album for him. they've single-handedly overturned the notion of modern jazz in southern sweden through their patronage of local musicians there. same goes for the arts institute in paris. they actively dug out the original tapes for sonny sharrock, who'd be limbering in even more obscurity without those re-releases a couple of years ago.

they are 100% dedicated to art in all its myriad forms, and if you can think of stronger patrons i'm happy to reconsider. certainly they are up there. they are a veritable artistic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for underground art, except replace the billions of dollars with 100% commitment, energy, and whatever money they can find. they are the most enthusiastic guys for the cause of art i've ever come across. in terms of hording music, ira kaplan and peter buck are novices compared to thurston!

and sorry dude, i thought you knew i'm not calling anyone a nazi here for christ's sake, it's just a joke. most of the stuff you were saying was before that anyway. but yes, i'm 100% for an exchange of opinions in music, but you were maintaining an exchange of opinions on the one hand, versus your facts on the other, if that makes any sense, and that's simply not on, i feel. maybe i misunderstood your tone.

i'm surprised you find their song-writing skills weak compared to bands like Yo La Tengo, who by their own admittance are a second-rate band in this department. don't get me wrong, i love YLT too, ATNTIIO is one my favourite albums of all time, but I think they are simply fans who adore music and try to emulate the greats, whereas SY simply are one of those greats.
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Postby Nicky Loves Fuzz » 09 Aug 2006, 10:27

ALBUM: Sister

SONG: Cotton Crown

This was hard. I love Sonic Youth. The stretch of six albums from Bad Moon Rising through Dirty is amazing.

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Re: BCB 100 - Sonic Youth

Postby pcqgod » 02 Jul 2010, 05:14

album: Sister
song: Stereo Sanctity
Where would rock 'n' roll be without feedback?


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