Kim Gordon The Collective (Matador) (Album Review)

Kim Gordon, goddess of cool and co-founder of Sonic Youth drops in with The Collective, her second solo album, one that will cement her reputation as the hippest of hip.

Sonic Youth was also divisive…you either bought into their New York noise-rock or not. Were they pretensiously cool or subversivly creative? Coming out of the No Wave scene, they are credited to help create the grunge and Riot Grrl movements with breakout albums like Goo, Daydream Nation and Dirty, a trio of records as vital as any band could ask for.

Sadly, the band dissolved along with Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore’s marriage with Kim moving on to form Body/Head and Glittrerbust, write her memoir and dabble in acting.

The Collective is Gordon’s secod solo album, following 2019’s No Home Record, both co-produced by Kim and Justin Raisen.

Early reviews of the new album have claimed this is hip hop record with The Washington announcing, “Kim Gordon is a rapper now!”

Don’t believe it.

While Raisen and Gordon admit The Collective is “more beat oriented”, it is more industrial noise than urban outrage.

So what have we got here?

The Collective is 11 tracks, most under four minutes…featuring backing sounds by Raisen and words and vocals by Gordon.

Opening track Bye Bye proves that Kim Gordon can sound cool…if not profound…just reciting her “to do” list…call the vet, call the groomer, call the dog sitter…while Justin’s electronic noise wails in the background.

Tracks like The Candy House and It’s Dark Inside sound like broken radio transmissions where words or phrases survive, but the meaning is left up to the listener.

During Shelf Warmer, I was sure Gordon was singing, “did you ever get shot?” before realizing it was, “did you ever gift shop?”.

And therein lies the fun and the frustration of The Collective. Personally, I found the backing tracks and Gordon’s mono-tone vocals strangely seductive and my own mind wandered as I heard random words and phrases such as “Don’t go down on your knees…picking out potatoes…cement the brand…or turn it on, turn it off, suck it up”.

Its a mesmerizing brew these two have cooked up and I can see myself going back for seconds.

After all, it’s got all the right stuff…no fluff.

Marty Duda