Goodbye 20th Century

Goodbye 20th Century : A Biography of "Sonic Youth"

3.96 (1,054 ratings by Goodreads)
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Sonic Youth's distinctive, uncompromising sounds have provided a map for innumerable musicians who followed, from '90s groundbreakers like Nirvana and Pavement to current faves like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. More than perhaps any other act, Sonic Youth has brought "fringe" art to the mainstream, helping spawn an alternative arts scene that prospers to this day: a world of punk rock, underground films and comics, experimental music, conceptual art, contemporary classical compositions, and even fashion. In Goodbye 20th Century, David Browne tells the full glorious story of "the Velvet Underground of their generation," an account based on extensive research, fresh interviews with the band and those who have worked with them (from Glenn Branca and Lydia Lunch to Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze), and unprecedented access to unreleased recordings and documents. This is a richly detailed portrait of an iconic band and the times they helped create.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 40.64mm | 703.06g
  • Da Capo Press Inc
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 32 page b&w photo insert
  • 030681515X
  • 9780306815157
  • 2,293,530

Review quote

"Compulsively readable...Browne succeeds at capturing the personalities and debates that shape the band's character."--"Publishers Weekly" "An expressway to the soul of the influential band Sonic Youth"--"Vanity Fair" "Hot Type column" "Complete and official version of the band's story...recommended"--"Library Journal" "A rollicking, epic biography ... compelling."--"Salon" "Browne's book will suck you in"--"Los Angeles Times," 6/4/08 "Browne's narrative brings drama to its telling by treating every bump in the road or milestone like a climax and floating the sense that their ascension to godhead heights was anything but inevitable...[his] willingness to probe every facet of every member's activities and proclivities adds and extra dimension...By diligently hitting all the angles -- there's plenty of regret about their various decision over the years -- Browne comprehensively captures Sonic Youth's unorthodox legend in full."--"Metrotimes," 6/4/08 ""Goodbye 20th Century" is as much a chronicle of the combustion of music and popular culture they helped ignite as it is an earnest portrait of the band and examination of their work...if you can remember how deliriously new and untouchably cool Sonic Youth sounded the first time you heard them, Browne's book will suck you in...Particularly enjoyable is Browne's account of the group's early years... Browne sheds light on their sound...He also fleshes out the personalities and occasional tensions behind the band's deadpan image."--"Los Angles Times," 6/5/08 "[Browne] found a neat narrative to work with, charting the group's determinedly paced journey from under populated gigs in the arty early-'80s downtown scene to its brush with alt-rock fame in the mid '90s to its current status as an inspiration to a nation of young experimentalists."--"Time Out New York""Browne takes a conventional approach to the story of an unconventional band...His relatively objective approach acknowledges the band's impact on popular and underground culture without descending into the obnoxious sentimentality that characterizes so much of rock journalism...[His] writing style provides the necessary information about the band's history without exploiting their coolness, critical acclaim, or personal traumas."--"VenusZine" "Browne does a fabulous job of detailing the setting, technical details and artistic temperament in the group's creative process without hyperbole. The book can't help but feel nostalgic for a cozy time before punk broke."--"Time Out Chicago" four star review
"David Browne expertly guides the reader through a minefield of recent rock history..."Goodbye 20th Century" succeeds in bringing us a little closer to an act that has managed to stay cool and aloof for three decades while taking us along for the ride. And, most importantly, it reminds us that art can still change the world."--"Under the Radar" "Browne comprehensively captures Sonic Youth's unorthodox legend in full"--"Detroit Metro Times," 6/4/08 "Browne covers...the whole scene in you-are-there detail."--"New York Post," 6/8/08

"Deeply reported, and often fascinating... Browne smartly humanizes the most aloof of rock's great bands."--"The Stranger," 6/10/08

"[Browne has] insight into the workings of the band."--"Belltown Messenger

""Browne gives us a refreshing look at a hardworking band that stands out in a culture of unrealistic record industry hype."--"Charleston Post and Courier"
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About David Browne

David Browne is the author of Dream Brother: The Lives & Music of Jeff & Tim Buckley. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York, and Spin. He lives in New York City.
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Rating details

1,054 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 31% (323)
4 42% (447)
3 21% (226)
2 4% (45)
1 1% (13)
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