Sonic Youth

Daydream Nation

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation ©1988 Enigma
1. Teenage Riot
2. Silver Rocket
3. The Sprawl
4. Cross The Breeze
5. Eric's Trip
6. Total Trash
7. Hey Joni
8. Providence
9. Candle
10. Rain King
11. Kissability
12. Trilogy: The Wonder
13. Trilogy: Hyperstation
14. Trilogy: Eliminator Jr.

Sonic Youth has been around for around a quarter of a century, giving rise to a sprawling discography of experimental modern rock. Digging through any band's discography can be a daunting task, particularly with a band who has gone through various incarnations of maddening experimentation. With Sonic Youth, you never know exactly what you're going to get in terms of exactly how much feedback, distortion and dissonance they intend to throw at you. Worse yet, you never know how often Kim Gordon is going to provide lead vocals.

Fortunately for the Sonic Youth neophyte, this is a splendid jumping in point with their 1988 album, Daydream Nation. Without a doubt this is one of the most discussed albums in the band's discography and for good reason. Certainly it's been called seminal and more importantly, it's been identified as good. While other Sonic Youth output has some magnificent songs (as well as some nearly unlistenable garbage), Daydream Nation is a thoroughly warm and listenable effort from beginning to end.

One of the album's main benefits is that the opening song is "Teenage Riot", one of the best songs the band has ever written in their entire existence. The second benefit is that the recording itself has a very organic, fuzzy-warm feel that never jars the listener, even when the band is fiddling around with feedback (as they often do in this outfit). While Daydream Nation never quite lives up to the album's opening, the rest of the album is very impressive. Heck, even Kim Gordon's vocal contributions are tolerable. The guitar interplay is absolutely spiff, as well.

Much can be said about Sonic Youth and any opinion you hear is probably correct, whether the pundit likes the band or not. However, Daydream Nation is one of the finest moments of the 80s, both in original content and flat out top notch performance. It's the sort of album that should be on anyone's Top fifty list for the decade and I say that from the perspective of someone who thinks list making is for the birds.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2005

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