Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album, the experimental brainchild of Minuteman Mike Watt and Sonic Youth, is a manifestation of Thurston Moore’s and Kim Gordon’s obsession with pop queen Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone). That makes it sound as if it were a second-rate side project, but remember that the album was released in 1988, when was Sonic Youth was at the height of its creativity, and that it’s a collaboration between seminal punk-rock veterans. The Whitey Album, reissued by Geffen for the second time, comes off less as side project and more as a stylish supplement to each of the artist’s repertoires.
The album indulges in grave percussive and spoken-word experimentalism (“Macbeth,” “G-Force”) that take the members of Sonic Youth out of their guitar-driven tendencies. It bridges the gap between playfulness (Gordon’s cover of “Addicted to Love”) and downright pretentiousness (the second track is a minute of silence). The two most accessible tracks on the album are the Madonna covers: Watt does a solo gritty-groove of a take on “Burnin’ Up,” and Moore and Gordon emulate her vocal style during a danceable rendering of “Into the Groov(ey).” The Whitey Album, an ambitious product of its culture, is as valuable today as it was eighteen years ago.
Band: http://www.killrockstars.com/bands/factsheets/cicconeyouth/Label: http://www.geffen.com/