Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sonic Youth: Rather Ripped [Interscope, 2006]
Their mean age up to 48 with thirtysomething troublemaker Jim O'Rourke gone, indie's gray eminences make 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 is Kim Gordon, breathlessly girlish at 53 as she and her husband evoke visions of dalliance, displacement, recrimination, and salvation that never become unequivocally literal. A