This is a Sonic Youth sampler. You have an edited verison of Dirty Boots, four live recording from various albums and one live and unreleased song, The Bedroom. I am not a huge fan of samplers. It just seems like a ploy to seperate listeners, die hard fans and collectors from their money. The fact that these are live recordings adds some viability to the samplers appeal. But is it really a necessary release. I don't think so.
The edit of Dirty Boots (Goo) is fine. It is the great song from the Goo album. But what is edited is what makes the song great. It is missing the long sound exploration. The part that holds it back from commercial or alternative radio success. By removing that part it kills the song. Did Sonic Youth approve of the edit? This is a question I would like answered.
The live tracks are ok. They are not the songs that I would have wanted on a CD of live material. White Cross (Sister) is alright. Erics Trip (Daydream Nation) has never been a favorite of mine. Neither are captivating renditions. They are well recorded and preformed. Cinderella's Big Score (Goo) starts with promise but the vocals come in and just make it sound like a pale imitation of the album original. Kim Gordon's voice sounds spent. The musical part is good and that is the best part of the studio recording. We do get a full, unedited version of Dirty Boots Live. Their is a great guitar intro with Lee Renaldo and Thurston Moore's guitars bouncing off each other. The live performance is a true version of the studio version. Moore's vocals are better than Gordon's when heard live. It is not just on this CD's cuts but something I have found in their live shows.
The last song is an unreleased track, The Bedroom. Is this just another ploy to get the fan and collector to buy this CD? Well, it is not a bad tune. An instrumental song that flushes out the same themes of Sonic Youth. You get the hyperfast chords and feedback all bouncing, crashing and careening off each other with Steve Shelley's driving beat. This isn't breaking any huge new ground. Competent and coninuing in the Sonic Youth tradition.
Back when Goo came out, and the time of these live recordings, I interviewed Steve Shelley and Lee Renaldo about the album and their career. They said something that I apply to many artists now, "How long can we be experimental and breaking all this new ground? When is it just OK to have fun and play our music". It made a lot of sense. This was directed at the backlash from the Goo album being coined a "sell out" by followers and critics. They seemed to have pissed off the public by having fun. Even if they are having fun. There is no real fun in this CD. It may be nice for radio stations to have a shorter version of Dirty Boots and live performances that can get on the airwaves while selling it to the public to get some cash back on a band that may have not met the boardroom bottom line when Sonic Youth signed on with DGC.