Saturday 18 April 2015

Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth

I haven't been posting as much due to, you know, life and that but also because I've been doing some writing for a web site. This writing is eating into my blogging time, anyway whatever. So I've decided to include some of these writings here in a little series called Tim's Ultra Rough Guide To Rock. This first one is on Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising. I think I could write a major article by expanding this small piece or maybe being this concise is just right.

This is a weird album. Bad Moon Rising has a mysterious atmosphere that just hangs and engulfs all in its path. This is the most singular Sonic Youth LP making it unique in their catalogue. Like David Lynch did with Blue Velvet, Sonic Youth shine a light on the dark underbelly of the suburban American Dream. Perhaps coming to the conclusion that it may in fact be a nightmare. Sex, mental illness, hippie optimism and its ultimate disillusion, subversion, nihilism, death, transgression and power are all covered lyrically here. Sonically the clangs and the air of alienating dissonance mirror that of the urban sprawl and the squalor it entails. This LP moves at a creepy catatonic pace that parallels life in the sleepy suburbs. The pace only picks up with a burst of violence that is Death Valley 69. A bit like Charles Manson’s endgame to those dreaming of a hippie utopia throughout the 60s.

*This really is a concept LP which would have been very uncool at the time. How did it get past the taste police, I wonder? This has me thinking about a piece Simon Reynolds did a few weeks back about a Thurston Moore quote about 1985. The gist was that in 1985 Thurston thought it was quite radical to reference music from the rock no go zone of 1968-75, citing Green River as the catalysts for this move. Perhaps this double think allowed him to make a concept LP in 1985 as well.

*Bad Moon Rising got reissued a month or so back I've just noticed making this post quite topical and not as pointless as I thought.

*Then there's this (below) that everyone seems to be reading, even my Mrs who's not even a Sonic Youth fan (While she was a massive Pixies fan, she was more into your Guns & Roses, Temple Of The Dog, Mother Love Bone, Jane's Addiction, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Screaming Trees in your late 80s into early 90s rock period). I've only read the first paragraph and it's a fucking classic. She calls Thurston Moore a phoney. I sense it will be a great read with a start like that. She's has quite a gift for writing amongst her many other talents.

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