I have mixed feelings about the new Sonic Youth. Each of the principal songwriters (Thurston, Lee, Kim) are straying off in different directions. Perhaps the band has worked this way before, but the whole of their previous albums always gelled, without filler songs, or surprising awkward mood changes. Kim's- "Massage the History" is one of my favorites, blending Beach Boys euphoria with a mellow-yellow Fleetwood Mac aura, but has no consistency with Thurston's "Antenna", which is my favorite of his songs on "The Eternal". Thurston seems to be revisiting his Goo-Rock personae, while Lee is altogether in another world of sound spectrums. Usually being the noisiest of the band, Lee's now approaching more tonal melodies, and vocally singing-out more than before. This makes for a very bipolar version of the band than we're used to. Initially, I hated the album. Nothing jumped out and shocked me the way "Daydream Nation", "Sister", or "Washing Machine" did. But the more I throw "The Eternal" on, the more I appreciate this confusing direction for a band that made a career on confusing their audience. I have played the record enough times, to put in the skip-around-the tracks category. It's not that they've lost their touch, or that they should've quit after the refurbished, re-energized "Rather Ripped", but they could've worked with another producer or something. I think they need a sound-makeover at this point. They're often cited as being too prolific, and the "new" sound (since Jim O Rourke left the band) is on the edge of being predictable. For Sonic Youth, predictability is death. Either "The Eternal" is a give-away, a record they rushed to release, or they just don't care about how their music effects the listener anymore. "The Eternal" could be a collection of songs that didn't make the last album for all I know. Sonic Youth has discovered and uncovered so much musical territory, that I don't know what the next step should be. All I know, is they're not quitting. The most unlikely band to follow in the Rolling Stones footsteps, are most certainly a few steps (a decade or two?) behind, with a discography as long, and a touring history as productive as Keith and Micks. I think we, the fans, will know more from the next Sonic record, if they have hit their "Voodoo Lounge" elder-phase, or do they have another classic gem in store for us.