Rather Ripped

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Rather Ripped
Studio album by Sonic Youth
Released June 13, 2006
Recorded December 2005 – February 2006
Studio Sear Sound, New York City, New York, United States
Genre Indie rock
Length 51:53
Label Geffen
Sonic Youth chronology
Sonic Nurse
Rather Ripped
The Eternal
Singles from Rather Ripped
  1. "Helen Lundeberg"/"Eyeliner"
    Released: 2006
  2. "Incinerate"
    Released: 2006

Rather Ripped is the 14th studio album by American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. It was recorded between December 2005 and February 2006 and released in June 2006 by record label Geffen.


Rather Ripped was Sonic Youth's first album without guitarist Jim O'Rourke since 2000's NYC Ghosts & Flowers.

The album was described by Thurston Moore as "a super song record", containing "rockers and ballads".[citation needed]

The name "Rather Ripped" came from a Berkeley, California record store that later moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1][2] The album's working titles were Sonic Life and Do You Believe in Rapture?[citation needed]


Rather Ripped was released on June 13, 2006 by record label Geffen. It charted at No. 71 on the US Billboard 200[citation needed] and at No. 64 on the UK Albums Chart.[3] It was Sonic Youth's last studio album on Geffen; they left the label in 2008,[4] and until their 2011 hiatus, recorded thereafter on Matador Records.

Two singles were released from the album: "Helen Lundeberg"/"Eyeliner" and "Incinerate".

For the UK edition of the album, two bonus tracks were included ("Helen Lundeberg" and "Eyeliner"), which were taken from an untitled single that was released shortly before the record. "Helen Lundeberg" was also included in the US as a bonus track on the iTunes Music Store digital download edition of the album. On the Japan edition of the album, three bonus tracks were included: the two UK bonus tracks plus "Do You Believe in Rapture? (Psychedelic Mix)".


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 82/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars [6]
Blender 3/5 stars[7]
Robert Christgau A[8]
Entertainment Weekly B+[9]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[10]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[11]
Pitchfork 7.5/10[1]
PopMatters 7/10[12]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
Slant 4.5/5 stars[14]

The album so far has a score of 82 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "universal acclaim";[5] the score is tied with the 2002 album Murray Street.[15] Stylus Magazine gave the album an A- and called it the band's " radio-rock record, and it's not a tribute, it's as close to the real thing as they've come since they actually had a chance at radio play back in the '90s."[16] The A.V. Club also gave it an A- and said it was " unmistakably a Sonic Youth album, right down to the snatches of amp-on-fire distortion, the tuneless speak-singing of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, and an emphasis on guitar texture that includes amplifying each strummed string."[17] Prefix Magazine gave the album a very favorable review and stated, "To call the album the band's most accessible to date is no slur. There's nothing wrong with accessible indie rock when it's this pristine and polished."[18] The New York Times also gave it a very favorable review and called it "a fully legitimate, clear and strong rock 'n' roll record in the band's own style. And it may really be the best one."[19] The Phoenix gave it 3.5 stars out of 4 and called it "[Sonic Youth's] most openly 'mature' disc, possibly their best since ’95’s Washing Machine, maybe even the almighty Daydream Nation."[20]

Neumu.net gave the album a score of 8 stars out of 10 and said it was "what you'd expect from a Sonic Youth that's getting back to the cool rock 'n' roll sound they trademarked years ago, completed by a tagline of frenzied feedback and chiming guitars."[21] Yahoo! Music UK also gave it 8 stars and called it "a terrific, life-affirming and, at times, deeply romantic album - one that proves the potentials in both rock'n'roll and the electric guitar."[22] Playlouder gave it 4 stars out of 5 and called it "the most accomplished and mature album Sonic Youth have done in years."[23] Mojo also gave it 4 stars out of 5 and stated, "There's surely never been a Sonic Youth album so un-self-conscious."[5] Uncut likewise gave the album 5 stars out of 5 and said that "Several tracks are up with [the band's] best."[5] Alternative Press likewise gave it 4 stars and called it "the sound of a band no longer setting their distortion pedals on stun, and, as a result, the best songs are as low-key as a small town on Sunday morning."[5] Paste gave it a score of 8 out of 10 and called it "About as accessible and smooth as this band is going to get."[24] Now also gave the album 4 stars out of 5 and said that Sonic Youth "continue their slow but remarkable progression that currently finds them, for the most part, dropping old SY standbys such as long experimental noise passages in exchange for a significantly more sedated route."[25] Billboard likewise gave it a favorable review and called it "a concise serving of what the band does best."[26]

NME gave the album a score of 7 out of 10 and called it "a really good record--but not a patch on... Daydream Nation."[5] Under the Radar gave the album 7 stars out of 10 and stated, "Rarely have [Sonic Youth] laid down so many tunes that are this downright pretty, hummable, even."[5] Dusted Magazine gave the album a positive review and called it "a fitting overview of everything that’s always worked for Sonic Youth in the past."[27] E! Online gave it a B- and said that the album "feels more overly familiar and Velvet Underground-y than usual, which isn't a good thing for a band with such forward-thinking ideals."[5]

Other reviews were average or mixed: Q gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and called it the "most mature album to date."[28] Blender also gave it 3 stars out of 5 and called it "[the band's] songiest record in more than a decade."[5] Spin gave the album a score of 4 out of 10 and called it "three- or four-minute songcraft--never the highlight of [the band's] resume."[5]


The album came in 43rd in Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2006[29] and ranked third in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums of 2006.[30]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Sonic Youth, except as noted. 

No. Title Lyrics Music Vocals Length
1. "Reena"       Gordon 3:47
2. "Incinerate"       Moore 4:55
3. "Do You Believe in Rapture?"       Moore 3:11
4. "Sleepin Around"       Moore 3:42
5. "What a Waste"       Gordon 3:33
6. "Jams Run Free"   Moore   Gordon 3:52
7. "Rats"       Ranaldo 4:24
8. "Turquoise Boy"   Moore   Gordon 6:14
9. "Lights Out"       Moore 3:32
10. "The Neutral"       Gordon 4:09
11. "Pink Steam"       Moore 6:57
12. "Or"       Moore 3:31


Year Chart Position
2006 Canadian College Charts 1[citation needed]
2006 Tastemakers 3[citation needed]
2006 Official Norwegian Albums Chart 13[citation needed]
2006 Official Belgium Albums Chart 20[citation needed]
2006 Official French Albums Chart 25[citation needed]
2006 Official Australian Albums Chart 40[citation needed]
2006 Official Finland Albums Chart 40[citation needed]
2006 Official Sweden Albums Chart 46[citation needed]
2006 Official Swiss Albums Chart 59[citation needed]
2006 Official UK Albums Chart 64[3]
2006 Billboard Top 200 71[citation needed]
2006 Official Irish Albums Chart 72[citation needed]
2006 Official German Albums Chart 79[citation needed]


Sonic Youth
  • John Agnello – production
  • T.J. Doherty – recording
  • Chris Allen – additional recording
  • John Agnello – additional recording
  • Don Fleming – additional vocal production
  • John Agnello – mixing
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Christopher Wool – sleeve artwork
  • JP Robinson – front cover design
  • Brandy Flower – sleeve design


  1. ^ a b Pitchfork Media review
  2. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Rather Ripped Records Gets A New Life In Lawrenceville "On Saturday, Lawrenceville welcomes Rather Ripped, a new store that comes with an old story."
  3. ^ a b "Sonic Youth | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved May 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ Sonic Youth leave major label after nearly 20 years. "The New York noiseniks are indie once again after completing their contractual obligations with Geffen. And you can expect a 'new band-zone-vibe' for their next album."
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Critic reviews at Metacritic
  6. ^ Allmusic review
  7. ^ Blender review Archived January 11, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Robert Christgau Consumer Guide
  9. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  10. ^ The Guardian review
  11. ^ Los Angeles Times review
  12. ^ PopMatters review
  13. ^ Rolling Stone review
  14. ^ Slant Magazine review
  15. ^ Metacritic score for Murray Street
  16. ^ Stylus Magazine review
  17. ^ The A.V. Club review
  18. ^ Prefix Magazine review
  19. ^ The New York Times review
  20. ^ The Phoenix review
  21. ^ Neumu.net review
  22. ^ Yahoo! Music UK review at the Wayback Machine (archived June 25, 2006)
  23. ^ Playlouder review at the Wayback Machine (archived June 9, 2006)
  24. ^ Paste review
  25. ^ Now review
  26. ^ Billboard review at the Wayback Machine (archived June 16, 2006)
  27. ^ Dusted Magazine review
  28. ^ "Sonic Youth: Rather Ripped". Q: 118. July 2006. 
  29. ^ Top 50 albums of 2006 of Pitchfork Media. December 19, 2006.1 "On Murray Street and Sonic Nurse, Jim O'Rourke pulled Sonic Youth out of a late-90s rut, spurring noise-rock jams that looked backward, forward, and somewhere in between. But even the biggest fan of those albums probably wouldn't deny craving a sequel to pop records like Goo and Dirty, and on their first post-O'Rourke effort, Sonic Youth offer exactly that: Twelve shiny, beefed-up rockers that funnel noise into melody at a level not seen since The Year Punk Broke. The surprise isn't so much that the quartet made this move, but that they pulled it off so sharply. There's hardly a wrong turn here, just reams of revved-up rock with all the classic pieces-- Kim Gordon's voice, Thurston Moore's writing, Lee Ranaldo's poetry, Steve Shelley's energy-- locked together as tightly as a jigsaw puzzle." --Marc Masters
  30. ^ Top 50 albums of 2006 of Rolling Stone at the Wayback Machine (archived June 19, 2008). December 29, 2006. "Their mean age now up to forty-eight with thirtysomething troublemaker Jim O'Rourke gone, indie's gray eminences made a light, simple, terse, almost-pop album. Granted, the guitar hook on, for instance, 'Do You Believe in Rapture?' wouldn't sound so lovely if they and all their progeny hadn't long since adjusted our harmonic expectations. But who better to play to our expanded capacity for tuneful beauty? The vocal star of Rather Ripped is Kim Gordon, breathlessly girlish at fifty-three as she and her husband evoke visions of dalliance, displacement, recrimination and salvation that never become unequivocally literal."

External links[edit]