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Murray Street Enhanced

4.3 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, June 25, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



As Sonic Youth will testify, it's not easy being avant-rock superstars. Follow your urge to experiment, and you risk alienating your more conservative fans. Stop experimenting, and you lose the impetus that made you so exciting in the first place. Such is the dilemma faced by this exceptional band in 2002, now wryly rechristened "Radical Adults" in one Thurston Moore lyric. Given the bewilderment that's unfairly greeted recent attempts to push their remarkable music to new extremes--notably their contemporary classical project, Goodbye 20th Century --Murray Street initially feels like something of a compromise; the band themselves admit it's more "song-oriented" than their last few albums. But hell, what a magnificent compromise. Named after the New York street where their studio is situated--and where a plane engine landed on September 11, 2001--Murray Street is potent, accessible, daring, and often obliteratingly lovely. For a start, the first three songs ("The Empty Page," "Disconnection Notice," and "Rain On Tin") easily rank with the highlights of SY's previous 15 albums. Obliquely melancholic, tuneful but unorthodox, all are enriched by great cascades of intricate three-guitar noise. When the Youth spin off on one of these bright and wild trips, these rich musical elegies for their city, they remain one of the world's great musical wonders. --John Mulvey
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 25, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000066I6F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,827 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Scott on June 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Murray Street is right up there with Daydream Nation, Sister, and EVOL in terms of greatness. It is not as sprawling as Daydream Nation or their more recent albums, but it is essentially everything we have ever loved about Sonic Youth distilled into 45 minutes. Some of the most amazing moments of recent music appear in "The Empty Page," "Karen Revisted," "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style," and "Plastic Sun," but really all of it is great. I especially love the gradually climax of "Karen Revisted", easily one of the best songs Lee Ranaldo has sung; you don't even know it's happening and then all of the sudden there's this explosion of sound.
The album is experimental but not pretentious, beautiful and thrilling, and it will be in your CD player for at least the next year. It is not as groundbreaking as Daydream Nation or their earlier albums, which makes just fall short of a classic for me; I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could. But, nonetheless, it is amazing.
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Format: Audio CD
Usually, I figure two or three listens are enough to get an idea of whether or not I like an album. I've reviewed some albums as early as the second time I've heard them. "Murray Street," however, defied my initial opinion-forming efforts. I'm currently at about my eighth listen, and I'm just figuring out how I feel about it. I had heard of, but never heard, Sonic Youth before I heard "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style" on an internet station and decided to check out the album, so I can honestly say that my opinion of "Murray Street" isn't impacted by any preconceptions regarding this band or their previous body of work. Judged on its own merits, though, this album definitely calls for a more thorough examination of the Sonic Youth catalog.
Anyway, what does the album sound like, you might ask? Well, if I say so myself, pretty great. My own personal experience indicated that this album requires an ear for detail and repeated listens to get into, so I recommend to any listeners that they give this album some time and attention before rendering a judgement one way or another. Based on what I've read, this album isn't as extravagant or adventurous as Sonic Youth's previous work, but that doesn't mean it's without its charm.
"Murray Street" as a whole has a rather trippy and melodic vibe; I could even go so far as to describe much of the material here as "laid-back," but not at all in a bad way. The musicianship here is very high-quality, but the band members clearly aren't out to beat you over the head with their chops; one reason this album took me a while was because the subtleties of the music were gradually revealed to me with each subsequent listen.
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Format: Audio CD
Sonic Youth are simply one of the best alternative bands around, right up there with multi-talented experimentalist John Zorn. This album, like their others, is several things: beautiful, transcendant, melodic, melancholy, rocking, noisy, and atmospheric; often within the same song. "Disconnection Notice" and "Karen Revisited" are probably the best songs, the latter starts out with beautiful song structure, then erupts into explosive noise, then into several minutes of awesome underwater exploration that shifts and rumbles like the tides of the ocean. "Rain On Tin" has a short stanza, then it turns into 3 0r 4 minutes of glorious free jazz rock improv; "Sympathy For The Strawberry" is equally amazing, starting out with the improvisation rather than ending with it, then metamorphosizing perfectly into the soul meets hiphop meets sad shakuchia meets lovely chorus that it is, it then ends the same way it started--with eruptive improvisation. The anger and rebellious behaviour of the album's shortest and most accessible song, "Plastic Sun", is fully realized and right on, attacking the state of things in mainstream entertainment industries as well as the brutal manipulative state of the governing world in general. The lyrics for "Radical Adults..." are probably the best, but the coolest thing about this song is the wild horn-filled insanity at the end...it's sounds like Naked City came along for the ride or something. "The Empty Page" is as well a good peice, but I found myself skipping over it to get to the really good stuff. If there is any hype for this album, believe it. This is another masterpeice by the Sonic Youth.
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Format: Audio CD
From the very first opening notes of "The Empty Page", Jim O'Rourke's presence is already noticeable with the shimmering guitars and smooth rhythm section highlighting Thurston's enchanting, childlike voice. With the addition of a fifth member, that member being gifted post-rock alum Jim O'Rourke, Sonic Youth have expanded their sound for their latest effort "Murray Street" and they feel looser and more alive than ever. Deemed the band's "classic rock record" by Thurston Moore himself, Murray Street is one of the best guitar albums to come along in a long time, with the band spotlighting everything from the dense metal esque riffage of "Radical Adults Lick Godhead Style" to the intricate, interlocking dual guitars on "Rain on Tin", reminiscent of Television's Marquee Moon or the King Crimson 80s incarnation. Opting for vibrant waves of melody over juxtaposed noise, some fans of Sonic Youth may be disappointed at the seeming accessibility of this album, but Murray Street, while more melodic than most previous SY outings, certainly doesn't lack any edge. Instead, the noise and melody are so deeply melded and perfectly fused that the album simply sounds almost too cohesive for how sonically powerful it really is. As part 2 of Sonic Youth's planned trilogy, Murray Street is set up in similar fashion to NYC Ghosts and Flowers containing an extended Ranaldo song as the centerpiece, just like the title track on the preceding album, that spotlights Lee Ranaldo's trademark strangely warm, deadpan vocal delivery. Although a perfect album in nearly every way, the one song that pulls this album down is Kim Gordon's aggressive rant: "Plastic Sun".Read more ›
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