Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star [DGC, 1994]
Instead of distilling their weakness for experimental trash into noise-rock that sounds like a million bucks, they apply their skill at major-label compromise to their eternal propensity for experimental trash. After all this time, they know what they're doing when they fuck around, and their long-evolving rock and roll groove breaks down only when they have something better to do--there's nothing aleatory, accidental, or incompetent about it. Anyway, usually the groove holds; this is no Sister because it moves when it means to. Its unexpected noises are the marks of flesh-and-blood creatures thinking and feeling things neither you nor they have ever thought or felt before. If they can't quite put those things into words, that's what unexpected noises are for. A