Kool Thing

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"Kool Thing"
Single by Sonic Youth featuring Chuck D (of Public Enemy)
from the album Goo
B-side "That's All I Know (Right Now)"/"Dirty Boots"
Released June 1990 (1990-06)
Format CD, 7", 12", CS
Recorded March–April 1990 at Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios and Greene Street Recording in New York, New York
Genre Alternative rock, punk rock, noise rock
Length 04:06
Label Geffen, DGC
Writer(s) Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley
Producer(s) Nick Sansano, Ron Saint Germain
Sonic Youth singles chronology
"Touch Me I'm Sick"
"Kool Thing"
"Dirty Boots"
Alternate cover
UK cassette and US 12" cover

"Kool Thing" was the first major label single from American alternative rock band Sonic Youth's 1990 album Goo. It was released in June 1990 on Geffen Records. The song was inspired by an interview bassist/singer Kim Gordon conducted with LL Cool J for Spin in which the two artists clashed.[1] Although he is never mentioned by name, the song's lyrics contain several references to LL Cool J. Gordon's lyrics make reference to several of the rapper's works, including the single "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and the album Walking With a Panther. She also repeats the line "I don't think so", which appears in LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali". Chuck D also contributed some vocals to the song.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Kool Thing", released on June 4, 1990, was the band's first for a major label. The video was directed by Tamra Davis. The video focused on Gordon's fascination with 1960s radicalism (particularly Patty Hearst and the Black Panthers), and featured the band wearing glam style clothing. The video was stylized after LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali" video, down to the black-and-white camera and go-go dancers. Gordon initially wanted to wear a beret and carry an Uzi, as a self-described "poseur-leftist girl lusting after Black Panthers concept." However, Geffen vetoed the plan. Chuck D appeared in the video.

In pop culture[edit]


  • Brian Molko of Placebo said that "Kool Thing" was the first song he ever heard by Sonic Youth, adding that if it were not for them, his own band would never have existed.[2]

Track listings[edit]

UK 7" (GEF 81)
  1. "Kool Thing" – 4:06
  2. "That's All I Know (Right Now)" (Richard Hell, Tom Verlaine) – 2:20
UK 12" (GEF 81T)
  1. "Kool Thing" – 4:06
  2. "That's All I Know (Right Now)" (Hell, Verlaine) – 2:20
  3. "Kool Thing (8 Track Demo Version)" – 4:15
  1. "Kool Thing" – 4:06
  2. "That's All I Know (Right Now)" (Hell, Verlaine) – 2:20
  3. "Dirty Boots (Rock & Roll Heaven Version)" – 5:28
  4. "Kool Thing (8 Track Demo Version)" – 4:15
US 12" promo (PRO-A-4123)
  1. "Kool Thing" – 4:06
  2. "Kool Thing (8 Track Demo Version)" – 4:15

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[3] 24
UK Singles Chart[4] 81
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[5] 7


  1. ^ Blanco, John (1991-03-20). "STAYING KOOLSONIC YOUTH SURVIVES A MAJOR LABEL". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  2. ^ Brian Molko - Radio XFM - Part 4 - Takeover Show The Residency - 27.12.2009 + some Pictures on YouTube
  3. ^ "Search the charts". irishcharts.ie. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved January 16, 2013.  N.B. User must define search parameters by entering either "Sonic Youth" into Search by Artist and clicking search or "Kool Thing" into Search by Song Title and clicking search.
  4. ^ "Chart Archive – Sonic Youth". chartstats.com. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Goo – Sonic Youth: Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]