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Kim Gordon Shows that You Can Still be Cool at 71

Oftentimes, when I thought of Kim Gordon, I thought of her iconic days as the frontal lead to Sonic Youth. But as I made my way deeper into her discography, I eventually came to recognize that her time with the band is only a surface level testament to what she has to offer musically. It doesn’t nearly encapsulate the broad scope of her talent and skill when it comes to aural, tonal innovation. When exploring her personal projects, one will realize that her anthology outside of the band much better abbreviates the breadth of her flair and aptitude for pure artistry.

I first came across her album entitled No Home Record, which she released in 2019, when I was in high school. The first song from it that I listened to was “Paprika Pony”, which instantly amazed me by how different it sounded from any Sonic Youth track I’ve ever listened to. It took me time to put together the pieces, in order for it to register that this is the same vocalist who was responsible for the likes of Goo and Daydream Nation. These are albums which I think made an immense cultural impact at the time in underground hardcore punk, alongside the emergence of avant-garde and experimentalism. Now, it only makes sense. I put two and two together, with Gordon’s present affinity for electronica, in an ambient and drone like fashion.

Image via Rolling Stone

When looking at her newly released album The Collective, it shows that Gordon is a trailblazer in artistic advances within the contemporary world. When it comes to music, she is always looking forward, doing things that have never been done before, with a consistent desire to provoke a certain sensibility toward shock value for how out there it is. In tracks within the new album like “BYE BYE”, “Psychedelic Orgasm”, and “Dream Dollar”, she confronts lyrics and instrumentals that are so daring, bold, and spirited with gutsy spunk that it begins to feel as if an outlandish alien is singing to us from an otherworldly pandemonium.

Brazen with static, edgy vocals, piercing synth lines, crunchy glitches, along with various clinking and clanking, what Gordon tells you through this new album is that she does not give a fuck. It’s a sentiment generally hard to impose on the self within the realms of the music industry’s current disposition. As a handful of musicians now feel more of saturated need to cater to the mainstream, Gordon sets up a path of her own that doesn’t comply or conform to these boundaries and limitations. It only becomes more impressive when we learn that she is age 71. It proves that someone can be 71 and still fiercely and vigorously cool. A few favorites of mine from The Collection consist of “I’m A Man”, “It’s Dark Inside”, “Shelf Warmer”, and “Tree House” which are all tracks that I will be listening to until I’m 71.