Monday, March 28, 2011

Murray Street Album Review

Without a doubt, Murray Street is a wonder of an album. Simply, it does not sound like any other Sonic Youth album, and that is a good thing. It isn't necessarily "loud" or "quiet" it is a gentle mix between the two. At times, the album wonders into places that have never been heard before, but at other times, it takes us back to familiar places.

Murray Street really focuses on the the Beginning and Endings of each song; the music in the middle, has the typical Sonic Youth "sound". This proves true on the longest songs on "Karen Revisited" and "Sympathy for the Strawberry". Old fans will really appreciate the songs on the album that feature the noise breaks and long openings.

Lyrics are another thing that keeps this album sounding so good. They keep listening to the song and it also gives another dimension to the album. I know that a lot of people don't pay attention to lyrics, on abums, but one should when listening to Murray Street. Unlike other Sonic Youth albums, lyrics help the songs move  along.

In the end, Murray Street probably is the best of the newer Sonic Youth albums up until The Eternal (but that can be debatable though). A 45 minute album with 7 songs on it might sound intimating, but Murray Street packs more into 7 songs than any 7 song album that I've heard.

(By the way, check out my Murray Street poster)

Track-by-track Analysis
1. The Empty Page
I like this song a lot, although I really don't listen to it that much. It doesn't negate the fact that this song is a really good opening to this album. In my opinion, this is  best opening to any Sonic Youth album. The song can be described as "rich" and just very "full sounding" .

2. Disconnection Notice
This is one of my favorites from Murray Street. It has a great opening, the song structure is very fluid and it ties the whole song together. Disconnection Notice really doesn't sound like a 6 minute song. In my book, if a song doesn't sound like the time given, it is a good song. If you really look at it, Disconnection Notice is a is a shift in Sonic Youth's songwriting. If you listen to this song, and compare it with a earlier Sonic Youth song, you can hear the difference.  Anyway, I like how this song merges right into the next song.

3. Rain On Tin
I also enjoy Rain On Tin a lot. This time, it is the opening instrumental that just drives the song along, at an almost "relaxing" pace. Rain On Tin is like Disconnection Notice when it comes down to the time factor. Rain on Tin is just one of those songs that you can just listen to and always find something new that is hidden somewhere in the song.

4. Karen Revisited
This opening, just like the other songs so far, flow through the song, and just makes everything "good", but at the same time, it also makes you pay attention to the lyrics; the good thing is that Karen has petty good lyrics. I'm not usually a fan of Lee songs, but this is a major exception. He might be the only one who could have made this song sound "right". The "noise" shift near the middle of the song, really switches things up and makes you keep listening. I'm not usually a fan of songs longer than 10 minutes, but Karen Revisited takes the 11 minute song and makes it epic.

5. Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style
Another stand out track for me. The lyrics are almost like beat poetry for me, and it always keeps me listening to the lyrics. My favorite part is the noise breakdown that closes out the song.

6. Plastic Sun
I enjoy Plastic Sun a lot too. It is the shortest song on the album, and I'm guessing that it is a "break" before Sympathy for the Strawberry.

7. Sympathy for the Strawberry
Sympathy might take the award for the best opening on Murray Street. It just keeps going until the lyrics starts, and I find that pretty awesome. If Karen Revisited took the 11 minute song and made it epic, then Sympathy for the Strawberry made the 9 minute song epic also. Believe me or not, I'm not too crazy about these lyrics, but I'll listen to the whole song. When I really listen to it, I can her faint echos from "Washing Machine", but that might be me. No matter what, Sympathy for the Strawberry rounds off this album quite well.

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