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NYC Ghosts & Flowers Explicit Lyrics

3.8 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, May 16, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's either a blessing or a shame that the risks Sonic Youth take don't really matter any more. No longer the groundbreakers, or the train spotters they've played in the past, they are now a band like any other. They play for the sheer joy of sound, the kinetics of experience. There's no other reason left to do it--which must be incredibly liberating, and more than a little sad. NYC Ghosts & Flowers is marked by the same yearning calm that defined its predecessor, A Thousand Leaves. The hooks are conspicuous in their absence, as if to say the battle may be over, and we're better off having lost. The notable exception to this brilliant game of implication is "Nevermind (What Was It Anyway?)," an obvious indictment of the decade-defining "alt-rock" phenomenon SY partially inspired. It's only fitting that this track sounds lost amid an album far too wrapped in its own interior explorations to bother stating the obvious. Sure, you could say that NYC Ghosts & Flowers is the group's best record since Daydream Nation--what's a new Sonic Youth album without such an assessment?--but to do so would deprive them of their greatest achievement. No longer fashionable or influential, Sonic Youth persist in the strength of their own passions. They matter to themselves. To hell with everyone else. --Matt Hanks
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: May 16, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B00004T3XL
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Sonic Youth's latest release, "NYC Ghosts & Flowers," continues the artistic direction they have taken since they hit their creative lull in the early 90s.
In 1988, Sonic Youth released "Daydream Nation," which stood as their masterwork after several years of writing and performing exploratory rock music. They subsequently signed a major-label deal with Geffen/DGC Records where they released a couple of good pop albums, "Goo" and "Dirty." While those albums contained some quality songs, they seemed to suggest that Sonic Youth were taking a break from progressing through their musical explorations. The album following those two, "Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" turned out to be the least interesting of all, as it sounded like an arrangement of outtakes purged from their previous two records.
In 1995, however, Sonic Youth was back on track with the release of "Washing Machine," which hinted at the group's philosophy on performing live. "Washing Machine," however, was just a precursor to "1,000 Leaves," the album that marked Sonic Youth's return to being one of the most intriguing bands in rock music.
"NYC Ghosts" marks a further point in their journey through musical artistry. Melodies creep up behind waves of noise, catching a ride and transforming the sounds into something entirely new and fresh within the same song. Meloncholy tunes are twisted into hints of uplifting ideas and vice versa. The waves crash, and the current pulls them back as new waves begin to form behind them, and reincarnated sounds and melodies jump on for a new ride.
Sonic Youth is back in full form, and it is well worth the listen to see where the new ride takes you.
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Format: Audio CD
So what if "NYC Ghosts & Flowers" will not sell a million, and spawn massivly popular radio singles? This is Sonic Youth we are talking about, and only one thing is important in sonikland: the music. And as long as the listener opens their mind to the album, they will surely find something in it. In some ways, this is the album Sonic Youth's entire career has lead up to. There are obvious parts of "Sister", "Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star", and of course "A Thousand Leaves", but nods to all of their albums can be found within. Although nothing that qualifies as grunge can be found, the themes are sometimes the same, and the energy is uniquely Sonic. The opener, "Free City Rhymes" is an excellent Thurston song, as good as anything he has written since "Dirty". The Thurston-Kim tag team "Renegade Princess" isn't great, but the guitar might remind the listener of a different time in their career, and makes up for the lyrics. Kim's "Nevermind (What Was it Anyway)" is carried by a brilliant Tom Verlaine influenced guitar part courtesy of Lee Ranaldo. "StreamXSonik Subway" is another strong Thurston number that draws the listener right back in if they haven't been paying attention after "Side2Side", which is not bad, but kind of gets lost in the middle. Thurston's other song, "Small Flowers Crack Concrete" finds him loosely imitating Lee's more poetic style, which works, but not as well as Lee's own fantasic title track. "NYC Ghosts & Flowers" is probably the best song on the album, proving how well the new approach can work.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Sonic Youth has been a band who successfully hugged the outer edges of rock, embracing even the most unlistenable sounds and combining them with something uncannily poppy. On "nyc ghosts" they continue the trend that established them as one of the true godfathers of punk and avant garde music in America. You'll find more of the twisted harmonies, except you'll notice they're leaning more on the avant side. The poppy melodies here are more currents and lying in the underbelly rather than the main engine that pumps through the chorus, as heard on other Sonic Youth albums. You'll hear more John Cage-ish, experimental orchestral arrangements on this album; more than you'd expect. But then again, you'll hear those harsh sounds perfectly blended with harmonic, angelic harmonies the way only Sonic Youth can pull them off. It's almost as if Sonic Youth were looking back on their musical roots and pointing to specific arrangements and saying to themselves, "Imagine if we did that today." That's what you'll find: a mature look back on the edgy, gritty sounds that established the Youth as a staple in American punk rock. But it's not like a grandpa looking back through an old photo album and reminiscing about the past. It's more like Evel Knievel looking through old footage and saying, "Give me the ramps, dammit, I can do that stunt better."
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Format: Audio CD
This is another brilliant record from Sonic Youth. As far as I am concerned, this is the sound of a band that has a lot more distance yet to run. People might look back on the days when they produced lo-fi, quasi-punk albums such as 'Daydream Nation' and 'Dirty' as being their heyday, after which the nineties revealed a steady decline. This is all rubbish. Sonic Youth have never been for the masses - and now they are for the few. It is too much even to think of them as a rock group anymore: the SYR series showed that they have more respect for the dissonant guitar structures of Jim O'Rourke (who produces on this) and modern composers such as John Cage than for punk.
The album opens with 'Free City Rhymes', a track that recalls parts of 'Washing Machine', starts off melodically before disintergrating into familiar chaos. It is not really indicative of what is to follow, but is fantastic nevertheless. 'Renegade Princess' is your true induction: harshly grating sound that will require more than one listen to truly appreciate. 'Nevermind (What Was It Anyway?)' and 'Small Flowers Crack Concrete' both begin slowly and (horror!) with a tune before betraying your trust (in the nicest possible way) by overloading you with bizarre bleeps and frantic drums. 'Side2Side' and 'StreamXSonik Subway', the next two tracks, are the ones that will separate the patient, real fans from those that are still searching for another 'Sister'. Strange but beautiful. Next up: the title track. Similarly structures to the opener, but the mood completely different. It really 'feels' like walking through a city falling apart at the hands of violence and history. Brilliant! - is this Sonic Youth's best song to date? No - it's 'Lightnin'', the last piece that pushes the boundaries of music even further. Imagine 'Invito Al Cielo' off SYR3 given an adrenalised makeover. And you're close. A perfect end to the best album of the twenty-first century (so far!).
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