Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18
  1. The album lacks the visceral, immediate impact of the best beat poetry and frequently seems fueled by self-consciousness instead of stream-of-consciousness.
  2. An unfathomable album which will be heard in the squash courts and open mic nights of deepest hell.
  3. 60
    In the end, it's surprisingly worth it for the few great, strange tracks.
  4. While it captures the contrary, questing essence of Sonic Youth surer than any SY release since 'Washing Machine', it also never betrays the sluggish, arrogant lack of self-editing that made '98's 'A Thousand Leaves' so bilious and unlovable, and the band's self-released 'SYR' EPs so hit and miss.
  5. But the album as a whole--which, at eight songs in 42 minutes, barely exceeds EP length--is woefully uneven, with producer Jim O'Rourke indulging the band in some truly ill-conceived whims.
  6. The collection either encapsulates Sonic Youth's most endearing or annoying qualities, depending on how one feels about the band and the spoken-word poetics from Kim Gordon.
  7. 80
    Doesn't quite reach greatness, but it grows and changes with every listen... [#46, p.92]
  8. 80
    While a little too dense in spots, NYC Ghosts & Flowers is 42 minutes of the most neatly executed pop noir you'll hear.
  9. Certain moments find the quartet keying in on the same fugal intertwining of beauty and dissonance that Television explored back in the late 1970s.
  10. The band members unleash meditative, self-consciously poetic jams, solidifying their status as the hipster's Phish.
  11. Its avant parts are more listenable--nay, beautiful--than anything on Washing Machine if not A Thousand Leaves.
  12. Closer than any previous mass-market Sonic Youth album to the avant-garde sound that's always popped up in their extracurricular work.
  13. 80
    Ghosts & Flowers, like Sonic Youth's landmark Daydream Nation album, forces the listener to listen very carefully for subtle moments of beauty amidst the near silence and the absolute chaos.
  14. NYC Ghosts & Flowers yields no easy accessibility, as it becomes darker and more abstract by the minute.
  15. The unruly, bad-dream aftertaste of this material echoes the quartet's early records from the 1980s... Even while there isn't a single song here that holds together from beginning to end, even as the music makes only itself felt in halting jigsaw fashion... the album has a gloomy, unaccommodating tenacity that's hard to shake.
  16. 20
    The songs suffer from a lazy approach and the relentless repetition of unengaging chord patterns. [July 2000, p.106]
  17. A dark, nervous-sounding album, a demanding and disruptive listen that only grows thornier over its 45-minute duration.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Joe
    May 24, 2009
    8
    A good album. Not perfect but definitely interesting, a great record for Sonic Youth.
  2. SR.
    Sep 23, 2007
    7
    Its sonic youth, take it or leave it. that pitchfork 'review' shouldn't be counted. there are very very few albums ever that Its sonic youth, take it or leave it. that pitchfork 'review' shouldn't be counted. there are very very few albums ever that deserve a 0 and this certainly isn't one of them. scumbags. Full Review »
  3. JonL
    Jul 23, 2007
    5
    Some cool, interesting tracks where the beat approach actually works (usually Ranaldo's stuff), but most of it is dull or just Some cool, interesting tracks where the beat approach actually works (usually Ranaldo's stuff), but most of it is dull or just embarrassing. Unless Ranaldo's writing it all, it's better for them to just hint at this approach rather than attack it outright. Full Review »