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Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth Paperback – June 2, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"As much a chronicle of the combustion of music and popular culture Sonic Youth helped ignite as it is an earnest portrait of the band and examination of their work Browne's book will suck you in He fleshes out the personalities and occasional tensions behind the band’s deadpan image."—Los Angeles Times
"The whole scene in you-are-there detail."—New York Post
"A rollicking, epic biography Browne cannily opts to tell, in a crisp, novelistic style, the compelling story of the cultural tornado of galleries, rock clubs and unique personalities (Lydia Lunch, Kurt Cobain and Chloë Sevigny, to name a few) Sonic Youth swirled around in, the band's ongoing fight to maintain the purity of their vision, and above all, their shared passion for new ideas and sounds."—Salon
"For almost 30 years, Sonic Youth has been one of the most influential and innovative bands in the rock topography a much-deserved biography."—Rolling Stone
"He goads the band...into uncharacteristic chattiness."—Village Voice
"[Browne] found a neat narrative to work with, charting the group's determinedly paced journey from under-populated gigs in the arty early-'80s downtown scene to its brush with alt-rock fame in the mid '90s to its current status as an inspiration to a nation of young experimentalists."
—Time Out New York
"David Browne's thorough chronicle cuts through the formidable Sonic Youth mystique, not only getting down to the nuts and bolts of this long-running machine but finally locating all the ways that Sonic Youth has altered the course of high culture, low culture, and everything in between."
—Michael Azerrad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991
"Sonic Youth were so outlandishly ahead of the curve that we're only beginning to understand their warped brilliance now, so it's a stroke of good fortune that we get to revisit the fascinating story of SY with David Browne, one of the finest cultural journalists in America. This is a monumental book. It's thorough, riveting, revealing, and exquisitely written, and it takes its place alongside Timothy White's Catch a Fire and David Hajdu's Positively 4th Street as one of the truly essential volumes of pop-music history."&mdashJeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking
Top Customer Reviews
I consider myself quit an expert when it come to Sonic Youth, nevertheless this book surprised me with all the rich information the author has gathered (Very impressive research including interviews and pictures from all the people who were involved in the Sonic Youth story).
The book is well written and leaves you with wet eyes in the end. It tells the story of ordinary people who had dream, some of those dreams were achieved some of the were not.
It is a must read to any sonic youth fan and to anyone who consider himself an alternative/rock/punk/indie music fan.
My only complaint is that the author occasionally gets some glaring facts wrong. He claims that the SST in SST Records stands for "Solid State Tuners" (it stands for Solid State Transmitters); and makes passing mention of an early associate of the band moving to San Francisco to attend Berklee College of Music (which is located in Boston). These are basic, easily verifiable facts, and I'm kind of amazed that they weren't caught by someone who read it between the rough draft and the actual printing.
Does this ruin the book? No, because the mistakes don't actually alter the course of events as the book describes them. They do, however, cause me to doubt the book's accuracy in general, and I can't help but wonder if there were other more consequential mistakes that flew right over my head.
This book was fantastic. It really gives you a clear window to the indie scene over a 25 year period. The best thing about this book, however, is all of the fine examples of the bands and artists and people who started their career and friendships with Sonic Youth, and with their help, broke into mainstream.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More about the slumps than the highs. I never felt like I got to know Thurston or Kim. It's all like third hand information.
Cast of thousands. Read more
Too much talking about producers and studios and not about the lives of the band members. I was interested in more personal stuff.Published on February 10, 2013 by Kurt Geeraerts
Whether you adore Sonic Youth, or consider them to be copyists of other artists hyped up by an image of "coolness" - I'm somewhere in the middle myself - you'll have a strong clear... Read morePublished on October 15, 2012 by Scott McFarland
This book is a fine breakdown of the history of Sonic Youth. The pictures are worth it too.Published on August 1, 2010 by The Mighty Tyrone
I really enjoyed this book it was far from an ass kissing biography - very often the members of SY are portrayed very realistically and not as gods. Read morePublished on June 3, 2010 by Jeffery G. Schmitz
A rather dull read. There's too little discussion of the music, and too much discussion of business. (Who cares who their managers or booking agents were? Read morePublished on June 2, 2010 by W. Decker