I’m usually the last person you’d find bawling about the inevitable end of another celebrity marriage. The obsession with such a banal phenomenon often sickens me; I guess that’s the price you pay for living in a society where people are persuaded to care more about a royal wedding than their own marriages.
But this week I felt a rush of shame when struck with realization that I was susceptible to such hollow superficiality. It all happened when I realized that, after 27 years of marriage, foundational members of the infinitely influential alt-rock pioneers Sonic Youth Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced their intent to separate.
All right, so maybe they’re not exactly celebrities per se, but Sonic Youth was instrumental in popularizing the marriage of dissonance and rock music, an admirable feat given the polished musical climate of the ‘80s. Since then, they’ve stuck to their guns, releasing 16 studio albums in their 30-year career.
To much surprise, a press release circulated earlier this week containing the always-feared phrase, “the future of the band is undecided,” indicating the likely disbanding of Sonic Youth. For the first time ever, it seems that the end is nigh for the demi-gods of noise-rock.
My relationship with Sonic Youth began, like many of us, in my teenage years when I picked up a reissue of their landmark LP Daydream Nation in the 2 for $20 section at HMV. The other album I bought, whatever it was, became instantly irrelevant.
I spent the next week confined to my bedroom, transfixed by the dreamy, washy sound of the album that seemed so strikingly relevant and contemporary to me. Within a week I was back at the store buying several more of their records and bragging in school as if I was the first to discover the band.
Soon enough, I came to terms with my jaded self and embraced the breadth of their influence and popularity. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with their contemporary catalogue, literally rendering a copy of their 2009 release The Eternal physically unlistenable after a summer of constant play.
That summer I also fulfilled one of my most rabid teenage fantasies: I saw Sonic Youth live. That night convinced me, beyond any inkling of a doubt, that Sonic Youth was still entirely relevant to the independent music scene that they helped to forge.
Hopefully you can excuse my soft spot for the end of this particular quasi-celebrity marriage; I really feel as if a part of my youth (all puns aside) is ending. But maybe I’m being dramatic; maybe they can reconcile enough to keep the band together.
Hell, ABBA made it work so, why can’t Sonic Youth?