Sonic Youth

Rather Ripped (Geffen Records)

In 2005 Sonic Youth's 1988 masterpiece Daydream Nation was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Register, an institution that has recognized just about every important aural document, from Miles Davis's Kind of Blue to the first official transatlantic telephone conversation. It is a distinction far cooler than a Grammy and one that befits the group's iconic status. Beginning with its other masterpiece, 1998's A Thousand Leaves, the group (back to a foursome since multi-instrumentalist Jim O'Rourke left) is continuing to experiment with dulcet, mellifluous, and skronk-free tunes in Rather Ripped. The dominant lyrical motifs contemplate relationships and love, making them pop songs in theory yet executed in Sonic Youth's typically abstract manner. Moore's contributions are slightly above average, like the chunky-riffed Sister throwback "Incinerate" and the atmospheric and vaguely antiwar "Do You Believe in Rapture." This year is Sonic Youth's 25th anniversary, and as Ripped proves, the band is aging gracefully.

 
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