Yes, Sunday Jammers. Hello, welcome and hope life is good. Its not far, the doors are going to re-open and leisure time will extend far beyond your neighborhood- exciting. Whatever you do and wherever you go make sure your playlist is major; a soundtrack, mood booster and brain food all in one.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the last section of the tour, this week it’s a new theme with old places, inspired by two things. The first was watching interviewer Anas Bukhash on an Insta post wiling out to ‘Caught Up in the Rapture’ by the incredible and ever magnificent Anita Baker, an artist whose presence was felt throughout my childhood. Big ups to you Anas, it made my day watching how much joy this song brought you, gave way to an afternoon of reminiscing. The second was a music article, its subject was the apparent death of the band. Made my heart fall a bit when I read it, the author made the case that new bands are becoming less common, the solo musician is on the rise. Lots of food for thought there but that’s for another time. So, what both these things inspired was this week’s choice, a classic band and a stunner of a tune. One of my all-time favourite musical outfits Sonic Youth with ‘Incinerate’ from the 2006 album Rather Ripped, and it’s a banger, banger, banger.
This album polarizes Sonic Youth fans and critics alike. Among the ones I know the hate is real, its too poppy, catchy, boring and it lacks any of the drama and oddity, feels too constructed, these are some of the critiques I’ve heard, some of which I can understand. This album certainly marked a change in direction for the avant garde rockers in comparison to earlier studio releases - Kill Your Idols is in my top 100 albums of all time - Rather Ripped is easier in comparison. And yet, the tricks, sounds and crescendos that characterized the band’s early sound hasn’t disappeared, instead they were streamlined, sitting alongside lighter indie riffs and melodies. If you compare it to modern indie rock albums it’s edgier, it has depth and darkness to spare.
‘Incinerate’ is my choice for today because of its deceptive lightness and easily accessible metaphors about love and the pain of loving, but again this does not mean it’s an easy tune. They might make it a bit quicker to get inside of the song but it takes a while to extricate. Reminds me of the blue flame, the most dangerous of the flames, with its seeming light, cool inviting hue, a flame that could ravage you in a matter of seconds; deadly and beautiful – a classic combination. The tinny ringing of the guitars, the bass rhythm that feels like a heartbeat, fueled by a fast drumbeat, held together by Thurston Moore’s laidback, raspy, sexy elegant vocal, it adds extra weight for me, he tells a story and emotes something painful.
It’s got plenty of space for dancing and room for contemplating the destructive nature of love, prompted by the simple but powerful visual nature of the lyrics. Lines like ‘You douse my soul with gasoline’ stir the senses, reinforcing the idea of an inescapable agony that comes with the frustration of being unable to do anything with it or put it somewhere out of sight. The vocal gives way to some controlled minor in-thrashing between the guitar, drum and some distortion, then turning back to make way for the melody to return and for Moore to lead you out. A slice of indie pop beauty. Loves to Sonic Youth and to you Sunday Jammers.