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Confusion Is Sex:Sonic Youth

Confusion Is Sex is Sonic Youth's second album, originally released in 1983. It was reissued in 1995 on DGC with extra tracks from the Kill Yr Idols EP. The album features a live cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog". The cover image is a sketch by bassist Kim Gordon of guitarist Thurston Moore. This image was used on gig posters early in the band's career.

Confusion is Sex is the only Sonic Youth album on which guitarist Lee Ranaldo plays bass, specifically on the song "Protect Me You".

The album was recorded by Wharton Tiers in his Chelsea studio (which he had set up in the basement of a building where he worked as superintendent). It was mostly recorded during Jim Sclavunos' brief tenure as drummer for the band, and he appears on drums for most of the album. Frustrated by the unconventional recording situation in Tiers' studio and generally not clicking with the band musically, Sclavunos was ejected and Bob Bert was invited back, and recorded drums for "Making The Nature Scene". Bert appears on this track and the live "I Wanna Be Your Dog" on the album.

This album features a guitar sound often remniscent of clocks and bells. This is created by using prepared guitars with screwdrivers stuck between the fretboard and the strings. Notable songs where Ranaldo and Moore used this 3rd bridge technique are "Protect Me You", "The World Looks Red" and "Lee is Free". On the preceding EP the technique is also used. On later albums the group abandoned the technique on their official albums and shifted to a deeper focus on alternate tunings. The group got the idea of the prepared guitar techniques from their experiences with Glenn Branca, who also published this album on his label Neutral Records.

The track "The World Looks Red" wasn't played for 20 years until it again became an often played track during their live sets in the touring period of 2006-until now. Pictures like the one on the left with the screwdriver on the 9th fret are taken on this particular track. No other tracks of Sonic Youth have this specific preparation at that particular spot during live sets. The track "Confusion is Next" contains lyrics sung twice by Moore. The first part of the song is slow and the second chapter everything is played twice the speed. The title was later used for the book by Alec Foege. The track "Lee is Free" is recorded on two tape recorders by Lee Ranaldo solo at home.

Date Released:February ?, 1983


Produced By:Sonic Youth, Wharton Tiers, John Erskine


  1. (She's In A) Bad Mood
  2. Protect Me You
  3. Freezer Burn/I Wanna Be Your Dog
  4. Shaking Hell
  5. Inhuman
  6. The World Looks Red
  7. Confusion Is Next
  8. Making The Nature Scene
  9. Lee Is Free

Further readingEdit

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