Musician, visual artist, fashion designer, mom, best-selling author: Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon is all those things, and more.
Kim’s recent memoir, Girl in a Band, documents her career as an artist and musician, as well as her marriage to bandmate Thurston Moore. It's an international success, inspiring legions of new fans to explore her work.
Much of the book chronicles Kim’s inspirations and recollections on some seminal Sonic Youth tracks recorded during the band’s 30-year career.
For old fans, it’s an opportunity to revisit classic Sonic Youth tracks and learn the stories behind them. For new fans, these songs are a great introduction to a truly influential band.
Check out Rdio’s curated playlist of songs Kim discusses in the book here.
Shaking Hell (Confusion is Sex)
“On a more personal level, ‘Shaking Hell’ mirrors my struggle with my own identity and the anger I felt at who I was.”
Death Valley ‘69 (Bad Moon Rising)
“[I] preferred to sing about the darkness shimmering beneath the shiny quilt of American pop culture.”
Shadow of a Doubt (Evol)
“I was trying to describe the connection you feel when your eyes meet another person’s.”
“Oddly enough, [Thurston] was the one who wrote the lyrics to “Schizophrenia,” somehow making the words sound as though they were mine.”
Addicted to Love (Ciccone Youth: The Whitey Album)
“I chose ‘Addicted to Love’ because I liked Robert Palmer’s video, with its background cast of zombie models identically dressed and holding guitars.”
The Sprawl (Daydream Nation)
“The whole time I was writing it, I was thinking back on what it felt like being a teenager in Southern California…”
Tunic (Song for Karen) (Goo)
“Who is Karen Carpenter, really, besides the sad girl with the extraordinarily beautiful, soulful voice?”
Kool Thing (Goo)
“If the song made people uneasy, or if it caused them to question things, well, good, even if they got it wrong.”
Swimsuit Issue (Dirty)
“I found it strange that Geffen, like a lot of companies, had a ‘Secretary’s Day,’ but secretaries never seemed to get promoted to anything above that level. “
Little Trouble Girl (Washing Machine)
“...my ultimate homage to the Shangri-La’s half singing, half speaking style.”
Sympathy for the Strawberry (Murray St.)
“I remember what a challenge it was coming up with vocal ideas of large masses of abstract music.”
Cotton Crown (Sister)
New York City is forever kitty/I’m wasted in time and you’re never ready/Fading fading celebrating/I got your cotton crown.
Girl in a Band is out now, published by Dey Street, $27.99.