Sonic Youth: Dirty LP
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Sonic Youth's second major-label album, produced and mixed by Butch Vig and Andy Wallace (a team that had helped turn Nirvana's Nevermind multi-platinum) was not the barefaced bid for mainstream acceptance that surly underground souls grumbled about in the pages of fanzines.
While Vig and Wallace give guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, bassist Kim Gordon, and phenomenal drummer Steve Shelley a wide-screen panorama for their bizarrely-tuned assaults, 1992's Dirty is probably Sonic Youth's most uncompromising album since 1985's Bad Moon Rising-particularly in the lyrical department.
Dropping the deliberate obscurantism, Philip K. Dick references, and smart-alecky snottiness, Sonic Youth brackets a slew of pointed political attacks ("Youth Against Fascism," "Swimsuit Issue," and the Jesse Helms-bashing "Chapel Hill") with two passionate tributes to the band members' murdered friend, Joe Cole ("100%" and "JC"). That Dirty is Sonic Youth's most commercial-sounding album makes it that much more subversive.