On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Sonic Youth – Kool Thing (1990)
” Kool Thing” is a song by American rock band Sonic Youth, released in June 1990 in the United States (as a promotional single) and September 1990 in Europe, as the first single from their sixth studio album . The song was inspired by an interview bassist/singer Kim Gordon conducted with LL Cool J for .
A short stay in the UK, dear reader, as we make our way back to the US and head for New York. Formed in 1981 by Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo, Sonic Youth went through a steady period of growth in the 1980s before mainstream success came in the 1990s and 2000s. We join them in 1990 with the release of their sixth album, Goo, and 1001 Songs have gone with the track Kool Thing.
Kool Thing was inspired by an interview that Kim Gordon carried out with LL Cool J for the magazine, Spin. The interview was described as being problematic with Gordon and LL Cool J finding little in common and thus rapport was sadly lacking. The song does not mention LL Cool J by name but does reference some of his work and we can assume here that he is the Kool Thing of the title. Throughout the track the narrator is showering Kool Thing with praise and questions but we do not hear any of their answers. It sounds like the interviewer hopes that Kool Thing will change the world with their music somehow. In the end we can only ponder.
I like the idea of a song paying tribute to someone after what sounds like an awkward encounter in the past. I do wonder what LL Cool J made of it all though to be honest. Both Kool Thing and Goo were well received upon release and although they did not touch the peaks of the charts, Sonic Youth were recognised as a significant act. They disbanded in 2011 when Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, who married in 1984, separated leaving the group’s future in doubt. They have yet to reform.
Favourite songs so far: