To Iceberg Slim and his contemporaries, this was a jivespeak term that meant 'in possession of incriminating evidence'.

Having a wide variety of effects, not able to do a single desired thing in isolation. Often used about drugs

Yeah, I could take doxylamine to get to sleep, but anticholinergics also cause dry mouth and difficulty urinating. That's a pretty bad trip.

or weapons

So what if we have a two-megadeath nuclear device? This is a war of conquest! It's not particularly useful to kill your enemies if the air is poisoned and the ground's been turned to glass.

When used in medicine, this is not a seriously pejorative term. It seems to evoke "dirty" in the sense of messy, rather than "dirty" in the sense of soiled or immoral.

Dirty is also a reference to an aircraft configuration. When an aircraft is “dirty”, that means it is in landing configuration, flaps and landing gear down. Performance numbers for complex aircraft often will include clean and dirty configuration information, the most important of these being stall speed. This is usually considerably slower than an airplane in clean configuration, as there is more drag. The extra drag is being introduced by the extended landing gear, as well as the extra drag associated with the added lift that the flaps provide.


A jarring, grinding, emotionally-charged, 1992 rock album by indie rock Gods Sonic Youth; which saw them plumb the depths of the then newly-birthed 'Grunge' musical movement; or so many would believe; with a glossy sheen of guitar noise scrambling and twisting frenetically; bound to thick bass grooves and motorik, pumping beats; and overlaid with whispers, snarls, growls and screams that are spoken-sung and manage to come across as melody, inflection and tone. In short, another classic dutifully delivered by dependable indie mainstays, Sonic Youth.

The effect of listening to this album is somewhat narcotic, albeit discordantly so; it was their most tuneful effort up to that point (before Murray Street), but it still remained rockingly noisy and with a sense of playfulness and intelligence that made it different from other mainstream rock acts at the time like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and Guns 'N' Roses, but not too dissimilar to acts like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers or the newly-formed bands Elastica and Stereophonics (though Dirty possessed a more distorted sound than the latter two). The album proved to be Sonic Youth's most mainstream effort to date and also their most commercially successful, widening their fan base and introducing them to a new generation of fans. Entertainment Weekly, one of the more populist of the entertainment publications, deemed it to be the best record of 1992. (,,312797,00.html)

The irony of this was that Sonic Youth was born of the intellectual, cultural, artistic elite that Entertainment Weekly is the antithesis of. Robert Christgau, the dean of American Rock Critics, mentioned in a review that " fun as it would be to hear [Dirty] roaring from a passing boombox, I don't think it'll fly." And so it is. With Dirty, Sonic Youth managed to create an appealing pastiche of ugly and beautiful, of noise and melody, on a major label release; but; they do it on their terms, without sacrificing their ideals and beliefs, which basically entails that the music is paramount.

And it is here, on 15 tracks (35 on the Deluxe Edition Re-Issue); music that simultaneously soothes and burns, destroys and nurtures, a sort of shamanic, tribal journey, where one has to wash away the dead life with flames to re-emerge on the other side; cleansed; though feeling a bit crispy. It might not be an easy journey to take, and like all good rock music, it'll kick your ass a bit in addition to expanding your consciousness and giving your ears a riotous sonic workout; but if you enjoy rock music and music in general and have the patience to sift the melody and tune from the dissonance and noise, your reward is the proverbial aural pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The tracks are; in order:

  1. "100%" (lyrics Gordon/vocals Moore) – 2:28 - The opener screeches and sinews its way into a rockin' tune that sets the tone for the rest of the album. It is dedicated to dead friend, Joe Cole. Also the first single off the album, with a music video featuring Jason Lee.

  2. "Swimsuit Issue" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 2:57 - This feminist diatribe has Kim Gordon asking "Why are you so meano?", with drums pounding madly in the background, like African talking drums on amphetamines.

  3. "Theresa's Sound-World" (lyrics/vocals Moore) – 5:27 - Probably the most beautiful song that Sonic Youth had ever done up to that point, with shimmering waves of guitars and cymbals and Thurston extolling upon a 'Light girl'.

  4. "Drunken Butterfly" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 3:03 - More trademark Kim ranting ("pleasure is mine") on this almost metal-esque distortion/reverb-drenched workout.

  5. "Shoot" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 5:16 - A foreboding, atmospheric exposition on an abusive relationship; it descends into a cacophonous breakdown sometime after the mid-way mark.

  6. "Wish Fulfillment" (lyrics/vocals Ranaldo) – 3:24 - My favorite song on the album, a love song, its beauty is in its discordance.

  7. "Sugar Kane" (lyrics/vocals Moore) – 5:56 - The 3rd single off the album, the video features Thurston singing in the middle of a Grunge fashion show. Another love song. Includes the line, "Kiss me like a frog", and the most poppish chorus heard so far in a Sonic Youth song.

  8. "Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 4:17 - Kim screams through this rocker about a manipulative woman. Best use of a 'la la la' chorus in a rock song yet.

  9. "Youth Against Fascism" (lyrics/vocals Moore) – 3:36 - Thurston Moore et. al against Bush Senior and Clarence Thomas. Features Ian MacKaye of Fugazi on guitar.

  10. "Nic Fit" (Untouchables) (vocals Moore) – 0:59 - A cover of a track by The Untouchables, noise jam.

  11. "On the Strip" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 5:41 - A good rock ballad on the heady illusion and labyrinth of glamor and rock-and-roll; has a guitar feedback freak-out near the end. This song does not have a bass line, instead it uses a three guitar and drums lineup.

  12. "Chapel Hill" (lyrics/vocals Moore) – 4:46 - About the North Carolina town of Chapel Hill, a frequent gig location for Sonic Youth, and has references to the scene there, including a reference to the Cat's Cradle; a venue where Sonic Youth regularly performs.

  13. "JC" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 4:01 - An emotional, plaintive ode to Joe Cole, a friend of the band who was shot and killed in a robbery at his home.

  14. "Purr" (lyrics/vocals Moore) – 4:21 - Thurston sings to a girl, in a sort of demented speed-blues love song about levitation, leather boots and super-soul.

  15. "Créme Brûlèe" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 2:33 - Kim's exultations on the joys of summertime and friendship, with a staggered guitar riff chugging in the background. Soft, quiet and fitting.

The Deluxe Edition re-issue, released on March 25, 2003, on the DGC label, added 20 more songs and was spread across two CDs. Track-listing ensues:

Deluxe edition:

Disc one

  1. "100%" – 2:28
  2. "Swimsuit Issue" – 2:57
  3. "Theresa's Sound-World" – 5:27
  4. "Drunken Butterfly" – 3:03
  5. "Shoot" – 5:16
  6. "Wish Fulfillment" – 3:24
  7. "Sugar Kane" – 5:56
  8. "Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit" – 4:17
  9. "Youth Against Fascism" – 3:36
  10. "Nic Fit" (Untouchables) – 0:59
  11. "On the Strip" – 5:41
  12. "Chapel Hill" – 4:46
  13. "JC" – 4:01
  14. "Purr" – 4:21
  15. "Créme Brûlèe" – 2:33
  16. "Stalker" – 3:01
  17. "Genetic"(lyrics/vocals Ranaldo) – 3:35
  18. "Hendrix Necro" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 2:49
  19. "The Destroyed Room" (lyrics/vocals Gordon) – 3:21
Disc two
  1. "Is It My Body" (Alice Cooper) – 2:52
  2. "Personality Crisis" (New York Dolls) – 3:41
  3. "The End of the End of the Ugly" – 4:19
  4. "Tamra" – 8:34
  5. "Little Jammy Thing" – 2:20
  6. "Lite Damage" – 5:22
  7. "Dreamfinger" – 7:41
  8. "Barracuda" – 4:22
  9. "New White Kross" – 1:29
  10. "Guido" – 3:50
  11. "Stalker" – 3:37
  12. "Moonface" – 4:44
  13. "Poet in the Pit" – 2:41
  14. "Theoretical Chaos" – 3:07
  15. "Youth Against Fascism" – 5:03
  16. "Wish Fulfillment" – 3:50

The artwork for the album was designed by Mike Kelley and features a series of seemingly innocent, somewhat creepy stuffed animals. Photos of the band were taken by Richard Kern. The album itself was produced and recorded by Butch Vig and mixed by Andy Wallace. The original Japanese release of the CD had a bonus track, Stalker, which was included on the original vinyl release and the Deluxe Edition Re-Issue. The original Japanese release also had a lyric sheet included; something which is missing in all the other releases. Some editions of the CD release had a tray liner photograph depicting performance artists Bob Flanagan and Sherry Rose, naked and defiling various stuffed animals. Buy it now. If you have not already, that is. If not, buy it on vinyl.


Dirt"y (?), a. [Compar. Dirtier (?); superl. Dirtiest.]


Defiled with dirt; foul; nasty; filthy; not clean or pure; serving to defile; as, dirty hands; dirty water; a dirty white.



Sullied; clouded; -- applied to color.



Sordid; base; groveling; as, a dirty fellow.

The creature's at his dirty work again. Pope.


Sleety; gusty; stormy; as, dirty weather.

Storms of wind, clouds of dust, an angry, dirty sea. M. Arnold.

Syn. -- Nasty; filthy; foul. See Nasty.


© Webster 1913.

Dirt"y, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Dirtied (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Dirtying.]


To foul; to make filthy; to soil; as, to dirty the clothes or hands.


To tarnish; to sully; to scandalize; -- said of reputation, character, etc.


© Webster 1913.

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