With an aural rainbow of guitar sounds and poetic, raggedy-edged song structures, NYC GHOSTS & FLOWERS continues Sonic Youth's resurgent preoccupation with avant-jazz and noise rock. Quirky, dissonant pop songs such as "Kool Thing" (from 1990's GOO) and "100%" (from '92's DIRTY) may have attracted many fans, but they're yesterday's news: Produced by Jim O'Rourke and adorned by a William S. Burroughs painting, NYC GHOSTS is an ominous rush of feedback, loops, and angular guitar work that takes cues from improvisational techniques but hews to its own skewed song structures. Since their last major-label release, 1998's A THOUSAND LEAVES, SY have released an album of noisy drones, SILVER SESSION, and an ambitious double-disc of interpretations of experimental composers including Steve Reich, John Cage, and Yoko Ono, 1999's GOODBYE 20TH CENTURY. And it sounds as if that artistic sprawl has left the band reenergized and recommitted to the boundary-pushing of their earlier landmark releases. "Free City Rhymes" features odd-metered tempos, Thurston Moore's trademark half-asleep vocals, and a forest of tangled, detuned guitar lines. The title track is driven by Lee Ranaldo's gnarled spoken word vocals, which resonate over echoing guitars and sparse drumbeats. And "StreamXsonik Subway" features clattering percussion, a herky-jerky rhythm, and Moore's deep, brooding vocals. Always innovators and at least one step ahead of their time, Sonic Youth have unleashed a new kind of kool thing.
Performance CreditsSonic Youth Primary Artist
Jim O'Rourke Bass,electronics
William Winant Percussion
Rafael Toral Guitar
Technical CreditsLee Ranaldo Producer
Sonic Youth Producer
Kim Gordon Producer
Thurston Moore Producer
Jim O'Rourke Producer,Engineer
Steve Shelley Producer
Wharton Tiers Engineer
Frank Olinsky Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
NYC Ghosts & Flowers based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
I'm not a particularly eloquent person but i'll try writing the best review i can, as this album deserves only the best. i respect other people's opinions but i think the guy that gave NYC Ghosts & Flowers a bad review must be smoking something, because this album is sonic youth's second-best (behind ''washing machine'') and a true classic, even though it wont go platinum, or spawn any number-one hits. sonic youth dont care, though, they only care about one thing...their music, and that shows. ''nevermind (what was it anyway)'' is my favorite Kim song of all time, and even though people who liked the album hate ''lightnin''', i think it's highly creative and original (people also hated Kim's ''panty lies'' on washing machine'', but i think that might be the best Kim song on that album). Thurston sounds a lot different, a lot older, on this album, which bothered me at first but it grows on you. the title track is good, too, but not nearly as good as everyone says. if i had to pick the best song on the album, though, it would probably be ''free city rhymes'', which features really cool computer blips and beeps courtesy of producer jim o'rourke.
nothing was grimy in nyc except the street under the tires taking the cognac-sipping golden girl to the nebulous shadowden of evanescing wraiths and luminous blossoms that emerged from the inner core of her so-called immaterial essence. it was all so shimmery golden in her glass falling on the bar-room floor shattering into diamonds like those faceted fruits dripping from her fingers, so glimmery but solid--will they last forever? the wooden floor will rot the beautiful shoe-besmirched flatway transforming into multiple inorganic forms instead of one, unified, solid structure and so will she decay into a microscopic array and so will all else even diamonds fade away due to radioactivity. yet she lacks no proclivity to make them come drawn to her like a magnet she says i feel so high i want my martini ultra-dry and every panting dog in this rotting venue will sigh because they'll swallow the lie they've been in love with all these years that some deluded highwayfools call music when their neuronal processes are on high-frequency the diamonds ripped her fingers she can no longer play guitar.
Sonic Youth show again that they have fully recovered from their short bout with alt. rock banality that was Dirty and Goo. (Both catchy and still Sonic Youth so cool, but lacking the guitar intricacy and expirimentalism of previous or later work.) Their past three major label releases have demonstrated a move back onto the avant garde. Like the brilliant Thousand Leaves, this album relies on quiet and subtle guitar interplay between Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo and occassionally Kim Gordon building to loud noisy cressendos. The first song is just as good as ones found on 1989's Daydream Nation or 1987's Sister. This band despite their massive number of musical descendants has never lost its position as the most forward thinking band in Rock and Roll over their 20 year career. They stand as the most important band in the 1980's underground scene. Their followers suddenly became popular in the form of Nirvana, Pavement, Helium, Yo La Tengo, The Pixies drawing them into the limelight but they quickly proved to avant garde for the radio listening public. They have maintained and refortified this position with all of there albums from the ninties. They stand comfortably in the underground rock and indie rock pantheon of innovators which includes The Velvet Underground, Can, the Stooges, Television, Patti Smith, the Ramones, The Clash, and The Pixies. Don't buy this album if it is your first SY record but buy others listen to them religiously then buy this. For current SY fans I strongly suggest this album.