Sonic Youth - NYC Ghosts and Flowers - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sonic Youth - NYC Ghosts and Flowers

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2000-05-22

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. --Matt Hanks

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