Thursday, January 21, 2010


The second song on the LP A Thousand Leaves is called "Sunday."

For an album that is as abstract as A Thousand Leaves, it manages to have a "hit" on the record. I noticed a trend with Sonic Youth: stay true to your art while making the powers that be happy with it. It seems that every album that SY has put out on Geffen contains a possible radio single. In my experience in the record industry, as long as they have something to sell (wether they want to sell it or not) they are happy. SY seems to always deliver a single that we will never hear on the radio but it exists to make the suits happy. This is why Sonic Youth managed to release all 9 of their contractual obligated record with Geffen. This is also the reason why Geffen built the band Echo Canyon, a studio for them to spend endless hours of recording and keep the studio bills to a minimum. No matter how commercial Sonic Youth can be, they always manage to do it in a very punk rock/avant garde way. This is why "Sunday" is one of my favorite songs.

"Sunday" doesn't seem to fit amongst its brothers and sisters from the same album. Yet, A Thousand Leaves would be naked without it. After the dirg intro "Contre Le Sexism," the album takes a dramatic turn. Mood-wise, "Sunday" is the perfect transition from one track to the other, but arrangement and sonically speaking, "Sunday" takes the album into another direction. I've always felt the band was saying "psyche!"

"Sunday" is a song that is centered around a riff. There is an intro riff and then a main riff. We don't hear the intro again in the song but it prepares you 

This song first appeared on the soundtrack for the film Suburbia in 1997. This version is slightly different. It contains a much longer intro, a longer middle jam, and a spacey outro. Obviously, the song was shortened for the album but the radio single was cut even more. I've never heard it, but I heard the edits were terrible. I often wonder if this song was intended for the Suburbia movie and not an album release. Like I stated above, its the one song that doesn't seem to fit. Plus, it was recorded at a different time from the bulk of A Thousand Leaves but I could be wrong about that. The soundtrack version of the song sounds more like the rest of the LP. Even though it contains the same parts, the edit for the record was more than likely intended for the use of a single. It would not surprise me if Geffen requested the song to use a lead single for the album.

"Sunday" was debuted in 1997 as an instrumental. The song was played regularly at shows from 1998-99. It managed to survive with "Hoarfrost" on the 2000 tour but rarely gets played now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unmade Bed

The second song on the LP Nurse is called "Unmade Bed."

I love the opening chord to this song. It's comes of very spooky and soothing at the same time. The opening portion of the song is very relaxing and allows you to just slide into the song with an undying familiarness. A familiar feeling you don't want to give up.

That's exactly what this song is about: Comfortable Familiarness That You Can't Let Go Of No Matter How Miserable You Are.

The band does a great job painting the picture of two lovers. The female in the relationship is miserable and the male comes and goes as he pleases. "Look whose come back home again." The female knows she must get out of the toxic relationship but he manages to "sucker her back" every time. "Now that you're in arms, know that you're just in his way." All she wants is him to be there physically and mentally. Even when she gets what she wants, she doesn't. The song ends with the line "now its time to fade away." We are left wondering if she realizes her woes and leaves or just falls back into the routine of the toxic lover. You decide.

Dripping Dream

The third song on the LP Nurse is called "Dripping Dream."

Lately I have been in a mood that wants to remember the summer of 2004. Nothing reminds me more of that summer than the album Nurse.

One of the disappointments of the 8/25/2004 show was that Dripping Dream was not played. It remains one of my favorite songs on the album.

The song is slow to start and features classic sonic arpeggiations that go from light picking to a muted riff. These parts signify the changes in verse but the song picks up during the "caught shadows, sex meadows" part. The song builds in tempo slowly and erupts. The difference in noise eruptions is that this time the chaos is controlled and Lee's guitar noise still retains the riff and melody. The song ends a lot like "Rain on Tin" from Murray Street or the dream-like intro to "The Sprawl" from Daydream Nation.

According to the tour archive this song was only played 4 times during the 2004 tour. It also specifies that Thurston had problems remembering the words and the melody. This makes sense because there are lots of words to this song. Most of them don't make sense, but its just another great example of Thurston putting random lines together that flow like poetry and not song.