Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sonic Youth: The Eternal [Matador, 2009]
Let us consider the Rolling Stones, a/k/a the world's greatest rock and roll band, who 25 years after their first album bestowed upon us the immortal Steel Wheels. Like said Stones, Sonic Youth are perfect masters of a style they created--a less derivative one, and concomitantly a less accessible one. Over Thurston and Lee's combustible tunings and Steve's strong beat, they've long since learned to construct memorable tunes track in and track out. So why is their 25th-anniversary album so much more fun than Steel Wheels--so sonic, so youthful? You think maybe it's that on a new minor label, with Pavement's old bassist freeing Kim up, they've gathered no moss, or whatever you call that green stuff mucking up the Stones' wheels? A-