Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shadow of A Doubt

Track 2 on Sonic Youth's 3rd LP is called "Shadow of a Doubt."

Towards the end of 1985, Lee and Thurston began working on new tunings for the upcoming record. Thurston and Lee sometimes would play the same song in two different tunings in order to expand the palette of sounds for any single song."Shadow Of A Doubt" is one of those songs.

Most of the record uses the F#F#GGAA tuning, but this song also incorporates the F#F#F#F#EB tuning we discussed with "Death Valley '69." The band also uses a tape delay machine to create that creepy staccato intro.

This is one of the few songs in the sonic catalogue where the lyrics and the title are very obvious in origin. Kim wrote the lyrics word for word based on the Alfred Hitchcock film "Strangers on a Train" but takes the titles from a different Hitchcock film. Kim says at the time the band was really into old black and white Hitchcock films and its no secret that the lyrics are exactly the movie! The band adds a few interesting twists to the song with a very emotional breakdown of Kim yelling "it was just a dream! it was just a dream!"

May 22nd 1998 saw the return of this song after a 12 year hiatus. The song was also played nightly on the 2002-03 Murrary Street tour and has had a few revivals since. I was lucky to witness this one in 2003!!

This video is taken from 11-3-1986 in St Louis. Notice the Janet Jackson playing in the beginning?? Sonic Youth was famous for playing Top 40 pop in between song during a guitar and tuning change! More on that later!!

1 comment:

Juan Horsetown said...

Saw this one live in Atlanta in '98. Great song. I always secretly wished for more of a freak-out with it, with shouting and more skronk and such.