Only time will tell if Sonic Youth is actually going to disband, but for now, at least, Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore are turning their attention towards their solo careers. I certainly hope they continue to make music together, but for the time being they've taken predictably divergent paths. Ones that Mercury readers must vote upon.
So, who will reign supreme in this Sonic battle royale? Age:
6' 6"Best solo album:
1995's Psychic HeartsThe Good:
In terms of sheer output, both musicians have been pumping out an insane amount of non-Sonic Youth material for years, but Moore's has been more highly regarded by critics. Probably due to his more prominent use of melody and collaborations with more noteworthy folk. Hunting down all the records Thurston's appeared on over the years would be impossible, but it would be worth it—there's something of value in most all of them.The Bad:
He might be on the downswing. Thurston's last record, the bittersweet Demolished Thoughts
, was terrific, but it lacked the edge of his best Sonic Youth material.
5' 11"Best solo album:
1997's Amarillo RampThe Good:
He's got that underdog factor working for him. Thurston was seemingly the clear favorite in this bout, but that may have changed this morning when Ranaldo shared "Off the Wall," a a killer track
from his first song-based solo album, Between the Times and the Tides
. The single is remarkably melodic for Ranaldo, and listening is required—participating in the poll without hearing it will
delegitimize the results!The Bad:
The underdog factor is a double-edged sword, and if he doesn't push himself creatively, his records are going to fall flat. A bad Lee Ranaldo record has potential to be incredibly
boring, but one with enough fresh new ideas could be mind-blowing.
Thurston Moore - "Circulation"
Lee Ranaldo - "Off the Wall"