35 Songs, 2 Hours 19 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nirvana’s surprise success in 1991 put an unusual amount of suspicion on the alternative nation that had been growing since the early 1980s. Cries of “sell out” were all too common and every creative move was scrutinized for its sense of purity. Sonic Youth opted to record Dirty, the follow-up to their major label debut Goo, with Nirvana producer Butch Vig (who had a ton of indie cred before Nirvana, it should be noted). However, the group hardly made a big, slick hard rock record. Yes, several songs are more “conventional” than the group’s usual sprawling atonal, feedback/alternate tuning instrumental jams, but the sound is pretty true to the album’s title. Recorded at a slower tape speed to retain the band’s trademark grit, Dirty is the sound of a non-traditional rock band lending its voice to the world at large. Where their earlier material concerned their own insular world and spoke in private language (and there’s plenty of that here), several tunes address the outside world of 1992. “Swimsuit Issue” handles sexual harassment. “Youth Against Fascism” is informed by the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings. But the band’s best moments are the simple clanging chug of “100%,” the two-chord shift of “Sugar Kane” and the amateurish grind of “Crème Brulee.” The “Deluxe Edition” more than doubles the original album and features several outstanding b-sides and curiosities that makes it a valued addition, including Lee Ranaldo’s poppy “Genetic,” brutal covers of Alice Cooper’s “Is It My Body” and the New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis,” as well as demos of the album’s material that spells out the group’s rehearsal process as you hear the songs taking shape before your ears.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nirvana’s surprise success in 1991 put an unusual amount of suspicion on the alternative nation that had been growing since the early 1980s. Cries of “sell out” were all too common and every creative move was scrutinized for its sense of purity. Sonic Youth opted to record Dirty, the follow-up to their major label debut Goo, with Nirvana producer Butch Vig (who had a ton of indie cred before Nirvana, it should be noted). However, the group hardly made a big, slick hard rock record. Yes, several songs are more “conventional” than the group’s usual sprawling atonal, feedback/alternate tuning instrumental jams, but the sound is pretty true to the album’s title. Recorded at a slower tape speed to retain the band’s trademark grit, Dirty is the sound of a non-traditional rock band lending its voice to the world at large. Where their earlier material concerned their own insular world and spoke in private language (and there’s plenty of that here), several tunes address the outside world of 1992. “Swimsuit Issue” handles sexual harassment. “Youth Against Fascism” is informed by the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings. But the band’s best moments are the simple clanging chug of “100%,” the two-chord shift of “Sugar Kane” and the amateurish grind of “Crème Brulee.” The “Deluxe Edition” more than doubles the original album and features several outstanding b-sides and curiosities that makes it a valued addition, including Lee Ranaldo’s poppy “Genetic,” brutal covers of Alice Cooper’s “Is It My Body” and the New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis,” as well as demos of the album’s material that spells out the group’s rehearsal process as you hear the songs taking shape before your ears.

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