Before I start, I’ve got to admit I haven’t really listened to much Sonic Youth. I’ve listened to some of their songs and was seriously impressed, but I’ve never really gone and got one of their albums.
‘The Eternal’ was a first for me and while I could hear that the band was experienced and knew their way around, I approached it in a way that I probably wouldn’t have if I had already listened to their other albums in full.
‘The Eternal’ is a fairly heavy album, it’s not exactly what some people would call heavy, but I tend to see heavy music as something totally different to how fast-paced and screamo-esque the music is. ‘Heavy’ is more a term for music that’s meant to be played loud and it feels like the music’s being weighed down.
Sonic Youth are now all aged past 45 and I can sense in some songs that they are writing in a tired style, almost Dylan-esque in their willingness to embrace their age and write songs that feel as old as they are.
‘Sacred Trickster’ is the opening track on the album, and it starts it off great. A seemingly slightly out-of-tune guitar starts it off and then the song starts to gain pace and never really slows down. The vocals are layed back and for the 2 minutes it goes for, you feel like you’re about to listen to an album that’s really good.
There are some songs on albums that justify in my mind why a particular are popular, and on this album the song is ‘What We Know’, it morphs a fairly simple idea into something far more intelligent and clever than I ever thought possible. The other reason why I love this track is the way they allow the song to go places, it’s never on a leash, the band allows the music to speak for itself and this made it become a brilliant song.
While the length of the album is possibly slightly too long, it’s still an amazing album and although it didn’t draw me in as other album have done this year, it impressed me, not in a small way either, I was kind of expecting a band that was defying age, but what I got was a band that was embracing their age and the songs that came from it.
‘The Eternal’ is definitely not for everybody, but I would tell people to listen to it regardless. It’s an album that shows what a good band can do and also how a song should be written. There’s not many songs that catch the ear, but there’s none that don’t sound interesting.