Not everyone has the benefit of a cool older brother/sister to introduce them to influential, innovative bands like Sonic Youth. And with a deep catalog dating back to the '80s, it might be tough for newcomers to jump in without a little help. Enter Hits are for Squares: a career-spanning compilation of Sonic Youth tracks originally released as a Starbucks exclusive (blurgh) and curated by hipster-approved artists such as Radiohead, Beck, Portia di Rossi, David Cross, and other artists whose high coolness quotients put your older sibling to shame. Each celeb contributes a mini-essay about their selection, making Hits instantly more interesting than the average cash-grab slapped together by lazy record execs. But most importantly the track choices are ace across the board: Catherine Keener reminded me how ridiculously crazy/sexy Kim Gordon's vocals are on "Bull in the Heather," Eddie Vedder prefers the anthemic rock of "Teen Age Riot," and Diablo Cody skews toward the ironic with the group's epic, definitive take on the Carpenters' "Superstar." With album-exclusive track "Slow Revolution" tossed in, Hits is that rare compilation that works for wannabe noise-rockers, long-time fans, and people who wish Thom Yorke was their big brother. (Good luck asking him for a ride to the mall, though.)
★★★★ 1/2 ( 4 and a half out of 5 stars)
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