Rolling Stone - p.674 stars out of 5
-- "[A]n excellent record, one of the strongest to emerge from Sonic Youth's amazing late period. Thurston Moore dominates....The guitars ring out with a sense of emotional urgency..."
Rolling Stone - p.102Ranked #3
in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "[A] light, simple, terse, almost-pop album."
Spin - p.59Ranked #22
in Spin's "The 40 Best Albums of 2006" -- "[T]heir 20th release extends the most comfortable hot streak in rock history, locating a few more nooks in a self-invented sound that no one else inhabits."
Q - p.1183 stars out of 5
-- "[T]heir most mature album to date, with songs taking centre stage and guitar squall used more selectively."
Alternative Press - p.218
"RATHER RIPPED is 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."
Magnet - p.111
"RATHER RIPPED turns out to be filled with delicate, pretty songs devoid of squall and doused in mellow melody."
The Wire - p.63
"While it seems improbably that Sonic Youth have fully mellowed, RATHER RIPPED finds them at home with some old fashioned rock verities."
Kerrang (Magazine) - p.64
"[A] clean collection of smart guitar songs that are low on the trademark-feedback tsunamis of old but high on skewed pop melodies of a Fugazi bent..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.984 stars out of 5
-- "RATHER RIPPED is a concise collection of melodious, and pretty straightforward songs: light of touch, compact in construction, sweet on the ear."
Sonic Youth: Kim Gordon (vocals, guitar, bass guitar); Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore (vocals, guitar); Steve Shelley (drums).
Audio Mixer: John Agnello.
Recording information: Bisquiteen, Amherst, MA (12/2005-02/2006); Echo Canyon, New York, NY (12/2005-02/2006); Sear Sound, New York, NY (12/2005-02/2006).
Photographer: Amanda de Cadenet.
Sonic Youth's turn-of-the-century output has shown a marked focus on the more abstract aspects of the band's sound, as evidenced by, if nothing else, the prolific number of experimental releases on the band's SYR imprint, including the double-album tribute to avant-garde composers, GOODBYE 20TH CENTURY. And while to use the phrase "stylistic departure" is unbefitting of a band with such catholic tastes and influences, the straightforward pop element that marks 2006's RATHER RIPPED, the band's 14th proper studio album, is so pronounced and, to a certain extent, jarring, it's difficult not to focus in on it. From the Thin Lizzy-like twin-guitar interlude on "Incinerate" to the gentle lullaby melody of "Do You Believe in the Rapture" (arguably the loveliest song Sonic Youth has produced since "Diamond Sea") to Kim Gordon's newfound pop croon on the opener, "Reena," and "Turquoise Boy," the band hasn't made a record with this many fun, enjoyable tunes in years. Of course, accessible is a relative word when discussing Sonic Youth, and by no means has the band lost its edge. Even at its most poppy, Sonic Youth still twist and gnarl any rock troupe they encounter. But on RATHER RIPPED, the band that essentially created noise rock have once again placed the rock front and center.