Contre le Sexism
Female Mechanic Now on Duty
Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg)
The Ineffable Me
By 1998, the alternative-rock takeover of the music industry was effectively phased out for the era of Britney Spears and other post-Disney pop stars. This left bands like Sonic Youth free from whatever responsibility they'd perceived having as leaders of an underground movement gone mainstream. The band abandoned any pretense of writing conventional rock anthems and went back to exploring the limits of its alternate tunings and groupthink. "Contre Le Sexism" kicks things off with the determined Kim Gordon not holding back on her socio-political views. (She'd become an unofficial spokeswoman for the Riot Grrrl movement and remains an important feminist.) The extended piece "Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg)" is a worthy tribute to the Beat poet. Lee Ranaldo continues to offer several highlights per album, here with "Hoarfrost" and the expansive "Karen Koltrane." The extended song lengths ensure the group gets its riffs to the boiling point.