Confusion Is Sex

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Confusion Is Sex
Confusion is Sex cover.gif
Studio album by Sonic Youth
Released February 1983
Recorded 1982–1983
Genre Noise rock
No wave
Length 35:40
Label Neutral
Sonic Youth chronology
Sonic Youth
Confusion Is Sex
Kill Yr Idols
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[1]
4/5 stars (reissue)[2]
Chicago Tribune 2/4 stars[3]
Robert Christgau C+[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[5]

Confusion Is Sex is the debut studio album by American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. It was released on 12" vinyl in February 1983 by record label Neutral.


Confusion Is Sex was recorded by Wharton Tiers in his Chelsea studio (which he had set up in the basement of a building where he worked as a superintendent). It was mostly recorded during Jim Sclavunos' brief tenure as drummer for the band, and he appears on drums for most of the album. Frustrated by the unconventional recording situation in Tiers' studio and generally not clicking with the band musically, Sclavunos was ejected and Bob Bert was invited back. Bert appears on "Making the Nature Scene" and the live Stooges cover "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Confusion Is Sex is the only Sonic Youth album on which guitarist Lee Ranaldo plays bass, specifically on the song "Protect Me You".

The cover image is a sketch by bassist Kim Gordon of guitarist Thurston Moore.[6] This image was used on gig posters early in the band's career.[6]

Lee Ranaldo recorded the track "Lee Is Free" solo at home on two tape recorders.

Musical style[edit]

This album features a guitar sound often reminiscent of clocks and bells, created by using prepared guitars with screwdrivers stuck between the fretboard and the strings. Notable songs where Ranaldo and Moore used this 3rd bridge technique are "Protect Me You", "The World Looks Red" and "Lee Is Free". The band also used this technique on their debut EP. On later albums, the group abandoned the technique and shifted to a deeper focus on alternate tunings. The group got the idea of the prepared guitar techniques from their experiences with Glenn Branca, who issued this album on his label Neutral.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Sonic Youth (Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Jim Sclavunos and Bob Bert), except "The World Looks Red", by Michael Gira, all music composed by Sonic Youth, except "I Wanna Be Your Dog", by The Stooges.

No. Title Lyrics Vocals Length
1. "(She's in A) Bad Mood – Version"   Moore Moore 5:36
2. "Protect Me You"   Gordon Gordon 5:28
3. "Freezer Burn / I Wanna Be Your Dog" (The Stooges cover)   Gordon 3:39
4. "Shaking Hell"   Gordon Gordon 4:06
5. "Inhuman"   Moore Moore 4:06
6. "The World Looks Red"     Moore 2:43
7. "Confusion Is Next"   Moore Moore 3:28
8. "Making the Nature Scene"   Gordon Gordon 3:01
9. "Lee Is Free"       3:37


Sonic Youth
Technical personnel


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Confusion Is Sex – Sonic Youth  : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Confusion Is Sex/Kill Yr. Idols – Sonic Youth : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (September 27, 1992). "The Evolution Of Sonic Youth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Sonic Youth". Retrieved October 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sonic Youth: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Browne, David (2009). Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306816032. 

External links[edit]