Sonic Youth

Corporate Ghost: The Videos 1990-2002

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In one of the many commentaries included in the Sonic Youth DVD Corporate Ghost: The Videos - 1990-2002, group member Thurston Moore notes that he is becoming more interested in videos than in music, a fair statement given the band's previous efforts, many of which are included here. In fact, the disc begins with the entire Goo video, previously released on VHS, music videos of all 11 songs from the 1990 album. The remaining 12 videos in the main part of the DVD include selections from all of the group's subsequent albums up through 2002's Murray Street, plus "Superstar" from the Carpenters tribute album If I Were a Carpenter. The videos take up an hour and three-quarters, but that's only the beginning of the material, since nearly all of the videos also have commentaries, usually by the band, along with others by the directors and in some cases the actors. "100%" from 1992's Dirty has four commentaries, one by the band, one by director Tamra Davis, one by musician and friend Mike Watt, who has a cameo in the video, and one by actor Jason Lee, who made his onscreen debut in the video, having been hired as a skateboarder. There is also a generous helping of bonus material in the form of extra videos such as "Drunken Butterfly" and "Swimsuit Issue," more interview material, and even a self-made video by a teenage fan painting her bedroom wall to look like the cover of Goo! Although a few of these videos got played on the old MTV show 120 Minutes, and there is much discussion of what MTV liked and didn't like, the videos for the most part are not typical MTV fare, just as Sonic Youth is not a typical MTV band. The group sought out young and adventurous directors and usually gave them very little money. Sometimes, bandmembers made the videos themselves. "Superstar" was shot for a sum well into five figures, but Moore estimates that "The Empty Page" from Murray Street cost him about 100 dollars. So, the production values are typically not what you see on cable TV, but the handheld camera shots and found locations often convey the essence of the band's music well. And there is the added kick of seeing soon-to-be-famous people such as Chloe Sevigny and Sophia Coppola.

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