Sound — 8
Goo is Sonic Youth's seventh full-length studio album. Following in the footsteps of it's predecessors EVOL, Sister, and Daydream Nation, merging Sonic Youth's signature noise with accessible pop structures. On Goo, the band continues to indulge in completely zoned-out noisy instrumentals, though the album as a whole is less self-indulgent and dreamy than releases like Sister. Sonic Youth make an audible move towards a heavier grunge sound, characterised by the a much more stripped-down approach than was featured on their earlier releases. Goo does retain experimental aspects though, with Sonic Youth meticulously burying their songs under dissonant harmonies and avoiding simpler structures that generally defined grunge bands like Nirvana and Mudhoney. Though the sound developed on Goo is interesting and experimental, it does lack the full, otherworldsly feel that had previously defined Sonic Youth.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on Goo are typical of Sonic Youth: edgy, honest, vaguely political, and with a surprising penchant for poetry. Songs generally alternate between Kim Gordon's signature stream-of-consciousness mumbling and Thurston Moore's thin, punk-inspired singing. "Mote" stands as an exception, featuring Lee Ranaldo's ominous drawl and including obscure lyrics that recall the band's early tendency towards the dark and the dreamy.
Overall Impression — 10
Goo opens with the anthemic hard-rock of "Dirty Boots", which features Sonic Youth at their most rock 'n' roll, with a chorus that recalls the arena-rock anthems of the 80's. "Kool Thing" is probably the song with which Sonic Youth is most commonly associated, though it is by no means the catchiest or most intricate song on the album. The true highlight of the album is "Tunic (Song for Karen)", a track about Karen Carpenter, the deceased drummer of 60's pop band The Carpenters. "Tunic" stands out as one of the most touching songs ever to have been written by Sonic Youth. Another highlight of the album is "Mote", easily the gloomiest song on Goo, with Lee Ranaldo's pained drawl floating over a dissonant mess of ominous textures. This is a solid album which, though embracing pop structures, is not limited by them. Though Goo doesn't quite reach the status of Sonic Youth's most accomplished work, it is a solid album that demonstrates the band's ability for expansion and revision.