Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
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Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream
Sonic Nurse
Sonic Nurse.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 8, 2004
RecordedJuly 2003 - February 2004
StudioEcho Canyon, New York City
GenreAlternative rock
ProducerSonic Youth
Sonic Youth chronology
Singles from Sonic Nurse
  1. "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream"
    Released: 2003
  2. "Unmade Bed"
    Released: 2004

Sonic Nurse is the thirteenth studio album by American rock band Sonic Youth, released on June 8, 2004 by Geffen Records.


The album's cover art was designed by artist Richard Prince from his Nurse Paintings series. Furthermore, one of Prince's photographic creations in this series was titled "Dude Ranch Nurse", which is also the name of a song on this record.

"Pattern Recognition" was based on the 2003 William Gibson novel of the same name. Sonic Youth had used Gibson's work as an influence before, notably on a few tracks from Daydream Nation (1988).

"Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" was previously released as "Mariah Carey and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" on the first Narnack Buddy Series 7", but the title was changed due to controversy.[1]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[3]
Blender4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA-[5]
The Guardian3/5 stars[6]
Q3/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[10]
The Village VoiceA-[12]

The album has a score of 77 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "generally favorable reviews".[2]No Ripcord gave the album 10 out of 10 stars and said it "could be the best guitar rock album since, well, Murray Street."[13]Drowned in Sound gave it 5 out of 5 stars and said the album was "the closest to creating a landmark on parallel with 'Daydream Nation' they've come since that particular record's nameday in '88, and in it's [sic] dense textures it maybe signals the extinction of the antediluvian No Wave idyll; a Robert Zimmerman trip that somehow got mixed up with Joni Mitchell, Black Flag and a conceptualist oddball."[14] In his "Consumer Guide", Robert Christgau gave the album an A- and said, "This unusually songful set is well up among their late good ones, its dissonances a lingua franca deployed less atmospherically than has been their recent practice."[12] While working for Blender, Christgau gave the same album 4 stars out of 5 and called it "[Sonic Youth's] most songful release since the major-label hellos Goo and Dirty, and by most standards their best since 1988's pivotal Daydream Nation."[15]Filter gave the album a score of 90% and called it "a gorgeous, bona fide gem."[16]Stylus Magazine gave it a B+ and said that the album, "if not proof of a band bursting with fresh ideas, is at least fresh-sounding."[17]

Prefix Magazine gave it a favorable review and said, "With Sonic Nurse, it's truly possible to see 2000's excruciatingly indulgent NYC Ghosts and Flowers as a speed bump on an otherwise smooth decade of record-making. Their last, 2002's bittersweet Murray Street, was a return to form, and the epic Sonic Nurse will only supply more evidence for Sonic Youth's canonization".[18]The Austin Chronicle gave it a score of 4 stars out of 5 and said, "Every song but one falls fully developed in the five- to seven-minute ballpark, brimming with enough dissonant wizardry, smart vocal imagery, and tonal shades of rock to fly the freak flag like no aging rockers ever have".[19]Yahoo! Music UK gave the album 8 stars out of 10 and said, "What emerges is Sonic Youth at complete ease with themselves and their music, operating simultaneously at the peak of their powers and with a powerful, audacious restraint".[20]Under the Radar also gave it 8 out of 10 stars and said the album "might capture something of indie rock's recent taste for emotional epics".[2]Uncut likewise gave the album 4 stars out of 5 and stated: "The Youth sound rejuvenated".[21]Dusted Magazine gave it a favorable review and said that "The songs, despite being mostly over five minutes long, are all to the point without feeling meandering.... The balance between noise and melody is right, with each emerging and vanishing at just the right point".[22]The A.V. Club also gave it a favorable review and said the album "compiles a laid-back hour of elaborate plucking and rhythm from five veteran musicians who reserve musical violence and poetic anger for when it feels most appropriate".[23]The Village Voice likewise gave it a favorable review and said the album "percolates the same melancholy satisfaction and nervous maturity, entropy and growth, in and out--but with an urgency and impulsiveness that risks upsetting the balance".[24]E! Online gave the album a B and called it "a cure for what ails the airwaves."[2]NME gave it a score of 7 out of 10 and said the album "sounds like a brilliant album by a lesser band".[2]

Other reviews were average or mixed: Q gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and said it "finds [Sonic Youth] revelling in bursts of noise and awkwardness, but more surprisingly perhaps, taking as much comfort in sweet melody".[25]Mojo also gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and said it was not "a classic rock record. And it's not a classic Sonic Youth record. It's an excursion, into corners weird and corners familiar".[2]Alternative Press likewise gave the album 3 stars out of 5 and said it was "better than 90 percent of new rock, but with younger combos like Lightning Bolt and Liars stealing their thunder, these well-meaning vets come off as old and in the way".[2]Spin, however, gave it a score of 5 out of 10 and called it "a strangely enervated Sonic Youth record, one that exchanges Murray Street's golden-years vigor for a sad sense of duty".[26]

The album placed second in The Wires annual critics' poll, where magazine staff wrote "[t]here are of course those who think the prefects of the School of Rock can do this sort of thing in their sleep nowadays, but there was no arguing with the supple versatility of their triple guitar stack and the delight with which they marry lyrics astuteness, textural grit and forward momentum."[27]

Track listing

All tracks written by Sonic Youth, except as noted.

1."Pattern Recognition"GordonGordon6:33
2."Unmade Bed"MooreMoore3:53
3."Dripping Dream"MooreMoore7:46
4."Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream"Sonic YouthGordon4:51
6."Dude Ranch Nurse"GordonGordon5:44
7."New Hampshire"MooreMoore5:12
8."Paper Cup Exit"RanaldoRanaldo, background vocals Moore5:57
9."I Love You Golden Blue"GordonGordon7:03
10."Peace Attack"MooreMoore6:10
Bonus tracks
11."Kim Chords" (UK and Japan bonus track)5:59
12."Beautiful Plateau" (Japan bonus track)3:08


Year Album Chart Position
2004 Sonic Nurse Norwegian Albums Chart 21[]
Belgium Albums Chart 23[]
French Albums Chart 41[]
Italian Albums Chart 50[]
Irish Albums Chart 53[]
US Billboard Top 200 64[]
German Albums Chart 89[]


Sonic Youth


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Reviews for Sonic Nurse by Sonic Youth". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Phares, Heather. "Sonic Nurse - Sonic Youth". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (June-July 2004). "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". Blender (27): 144. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ Browne, David (June 11, 2004). "Sonic Nurse". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Simpson, Dave (June 4, 2004). "Sonic Youth, Sonic Nurse". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". NME: 57. June 5, 2004.
  8. ^ Ubl, Sam (June 5, 2004). "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". Q (216): 124. July 2004.
  10. ^ Walters, Barry (June 24, 2004). "Sonic Nurse". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Wood, Mikael (July 2004). "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". Spin. 20 (7): 108-11. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (July 6, 2004). "Consumer Guide: Squirt You". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ No Ripcord review
  14. ^ "Drowned in Sound review". Archived from the original on June 7, 2004. Retrieved .CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ Blender review
  16. ^ Filter review
  17. ^ Stylus Magazine review Archived 2013-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Prefix Magazine review
  19. ^ The Austin Chronicle review
  20. ^ "Yahoo! Music UK review". Archived from the original on June 18, 2004. Retrieved .CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  21. ^ "Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse". Uncut: 108. July 2004. Retrieved 2013.
  22. ^ Dusted Magazine review
  23. ^ The A.V. Club review
  24. ^ The Village Voice review
  25. ^ "Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse". Q: 124. July 2004.
  26. ^ Spin review
  27. ^ "2004 Rewind: 50 Records of the Year". The Wire. No. 251. London. January 2005. p. 41 – via Exact Editions.(subscription required)

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