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Old 05-25-2009, 08:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
Davey Moore
The Great Disappearer
 
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: URI Campus and Coventry, both in RI
Posts: 461
Default Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation


In my view, for an album to be held as great by someone, it must have a certain sort of moment, a moment that absolutely enthralls and hooks you, a sort of voodoo of sound. In “Daydream Nation”, the moment comes a minute or so into the first track, where the tone substantially shifts and the verse kicks in, with Thurston singing “Everybody’s talking bout the stormy weather/ And what’s a man do to but work out whether its true?” Immediately, a sort of confusion is evoked, which is appropriate. There were two distinct America’s in the 80s. There was the dreamland America, where everybody was getting rich under Reagan, partying and going to the mall. But there was a dark underbelly, an undertow where the radical politics of Public Enemy and the radical sounds of Sonic Youth reigned supreme.

Not enough people I know give the 80s the credit it deserves, and I used to be one of those people. To think of the 80s as the mainstream 80s stuff, like Hall and Oates and Madonna is completely missing the point. If you want to know the 80s in a real sense, you need to listen to the underground music. To me, the 80s is Sonic Youth, Pixies, The Fall, The Talking Heads, The Replacements, Husker Du, R.E.M, etc. Sonic Youth were one of the few revolutionary bands in rock. Despite punk and all its revolutionary posing, they were all still playing Chuck Berry chords.

Sonic Youth were one of the few revolutionary bands in rock. Despite punk and all its revolutionary posing, they were all still playing Chuck Berry chords. It’s appropriate that the best example of guitar on this album is called ‘The Sprawl’, because that’s exactly how to describe them, layered and dense, sprawling like some primal yet industrial force.

I know that some people find this paradoxical, but a noise-rock, no wave band is responsible for some of the most beautiful sounds ever laid down on wax. Take the song “Candle”, possibly the highlight of the entire album. It’s a great example of not only the band shifting their sound, but adding untold emotional layers to their music.

There’s only one qualm in my mind. Cut out Eliminator Jr. entirely so that the end is no longer a trilogy. That means the album ends on Hyperstation, which has such a better sense of closure. Lyrically, the ending would be perfect: “It's an anthem in a vacuum on a hyperstation/Day dreaming days in a daydream nation.”

9.7/10
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