World War III Radio: Sonic Youth – Bad Moon Rising (1985)

By 1985 it seems to me that Sonic Youth was starting to harness the raw power of the noise. They weren’t toning it down or taming it. Just kind of directing it. They’d weaponized it rather than just setting it off. Does that make sense? They hadn’t gone soft in any sense of the word. They were, if anything, more dangerous. They were mastering something and creating something new. If I had any sense at all I’d fear the explosive darkness they unleashed, but it’s the opposite. I’m drawn to it like a bug to one of those zappers. And what the fuck anyway. I’d rather be vaporized than bored. Give me the noise. Bring me the distortion. Paint me the apocalypse.


I’m ready.

I awoke in New Jersey this morning with a blazing headache. That sounds like a hangover story but it’s not. Maybe dehydration. Maybe not enough caffeine. Probably though just some manifestation of all my neurological fuckedupness. So I woke up and looked at the forecast. Somewhere up around 100, and I guess people in the Southwest laugh at 100 but you’ve not felt 100 until you’ve felt it in a city like New York City. It’s hot stone and filth. It’s wheezing air conditioners pushing out more heat. It’s exhaust fumes and the smell of dead and dying things. It’s people walking around wearing the mask of death, the grief of cosmic, why-me-god persecution. We take this shit personally here, but that’s kind of dumb. I don’t take it personally. I don’t really want to be here in the summer, but I can’t really think of anywhere else I’d rather be, so I sweat it out and stagger from train to train holding my oversized head. I’ll take the discomfort any day in place of the empty conversations of suburbs and countryside shopping mall brains.

Yes, I will probably die here, for no other reason than I can’t stand it anywhere else, and they can’t stand me. They can’t really stand me or understand me here, but it’s different. There is less judgment here. My fuckedupness is just one part of this huge fabric of fuckedupness. It’s like a thread woven into 9 million other threads in the rich tapestry of messiness. Nobody even really notices you here and that’s a good thing. You have to do something absolutely miraculous or diabolical here, or both, to be singled out.

I fucking love the anonymity!

And the noise.

I love the noise.

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