A Thousand Leaves
|A Thousand Leaves|
|Studio album by Sonic Youth|
|Released||May 12, 1998|
|Recorded||1997–1998 at Echo Canyon, New York City, United States|
|Sonic Youth chronology|
|Singles from A Thousand Leaves|
Recording and content
A Thousand Leaves was the group's first major album to be recorded in their private Manhattan studio, dubbed Echo Canyon.
There are several references to France on A Thousand Leaves. On the CD label, the phrase "mille feuille" was crossed out and "a thousand leaves" was written under it. The name of the first song, "Contre le sexisme", means "against sexism" in French. "French Tickler" referred to a sex toy of the same name.
A Thousand Leaves was released on May 12, 1998 by record label DGC. The song "Sunday" was released as a single. As of July 1999, the album had sold 54,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.
|The A.V. Club||unfavorable|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide||(2004)|
|The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
A Thousand Leaves has generally been well received by professional critics. Robert Christgau praised the album, giving it the highest score (A+) of any Sonic Youth album to date. He called it "mature, leisurely, rather beautiful, perhaps content. But it's neither complacent nor same-old, and after it's settled into their, I'm sorry, oeuvre, it will rank toward the top for everybody except permanent revolutionaries [...] Awash in connubial ardor and childhood bliss, undergirded by the strength-through-strangeness of angry tunings grown familiar, it's the music of a daydream nation old enough to treasure whatever time it finds on its hands. Where a decade ago they plunged and plodded, drunk on the forward notion of the van they were stuck in, here they wander at will, dazzled by sunshine, greenery, hoarfrost and machines that go squish in the night."
Rolling Stone opined, "Their best-made records radiate the thrilling feeling that they stopped shy of adding finishing touches. It's why everybody has a different favorite disc of the band's: They all seem so unprogrammed, so highly suggestive. But A Thousand Leaves loses that delicate balance between whimsy and craft in favor of the former. Rather than the idea-every-minute of the last few albums, the songs plod for long stretches. It really does sound like a demo – eleven songs waiting for better organization and cliché removal."
Pitchfork called the album "the prettiest Sonic Youth record yet", praising its subtle textures" and calling the songs "aromatherapy, relaxing and vaporous", but that "you get the idea that by this point Sonic Youth can just walk in their studio and crank this stuff out in an afternoon. That's where the resulting inconsistency comes from. The band is too content to merely experiment and jam."
All songs written and composed by Sonic Youth.
|1.||"Contre le sexisme"||Gordon||3:55|
|3.||"Female Mechanic Now on Duty"||Gordon||7:43|
|4.||"Wildflower Soul"||Moore, Gordon (background vocals)||9:04|
|7.||"Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg)"||Moore||11:05|
|8.||"Karen Koltrane"||Ranaldo, Moore (background vocals)||9:20|
|9.||"The Ineffable Me"||Gordon||5:21|
|1998||A Thousand Leaves||French Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique||32|
|UK Albums Chart||38|
|US Billboard 200||85|
- Sonic Youth
- Thurston Moore – guitar, vocals, production
- Kim Gordon – guitar, vocals, production, bass guitar
- Lee Ranaldo – guitar, vocals, production
- Steve Shelley – drums, production
- Wharton Tiers – production
- Don Fleming – additional production
- Greg Calbi – mastering
- Frank Olinsky – sleeve art direction
- Mark Borthwick – sleeve photography and typography
- Marnie Weber – cover artwork
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