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Davey Moore 05-25-2009 08:04 PM

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

Gone Sugaring 05-25-2009 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Davey Moore (Post 665987)
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.


I agree. Nice review.

Brad Stengel 05-25-2009 08:33 PM

Great review, I agree about cutting out 'Eliminator Jr., it sounds so out of place.

My personal favorite moment is in my favorite SY song, "Total Trash", when the perfect poppy guitar hook slowly begins to degrade into out of tune guitars and blasts of noise, only to slowly return to it's original form, only slightly slower. Sonic Youth attempted to be more accessible after 'Daydream', but to this day, (I own Sister, Goo, and Dirty) It's been the easiest Youth album to fall in love with.

Piss Me Off 05-26-2009 06:00 AM

I like the inclusion of Eliminator Jr, why go the obvious route and and end on a more subdued song when they can go out with a bang? This is a band that have sampled Salt 'n' Pepa for the end of an album by the way.

Good review, i still can't adequately describe my love for Teenage Riot.

Davey Moore 05-26-2009 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Piss Me Off (Post 666112)
I like the inclusion of Eliminator Jr, why go the obvious route and and end on a more subdued song when they can go out with a bang? This is a band that have sampled Salt 'n' Pepa for the end of an album by the way.

Good review, i still can't adequately describe my love for Teenage Riot.

I know, but some songs have a sense of finality about them, and Hyperstation definitely has that.

hellzangelx 05-27-2009 02:57 PM

Very well written review! Good album as well. I can't find my copy so I am DL'ing it now!

Zer0 05-27-2009 03:36 PM

Hmmm i might give this album a spin and bask in it's greatness. I definatly agree with Candle being the best track, and Teen Age Riot is one of my favourite opening tracks ever. I love the spacey bits of the album, like the climax of The Sprawl or the noise freak-out in the middle of Total Trash, not to mention Hyperstation.

Sneer 05-27-2009 08:40 PM

Out of the SY albums i own and love (so that'll be EVOL, Sister, Daydream Nation, Dirty, Goo, Washing Machine and A Thousand Leaves), DN was the most challenging and difficult to embrace. It took me about 2 years to 'get it', the eureka moment came very late one night when i decided to do nothing but focus on the album and nothing else. I've loved it ever since.

jacklovezhimself 05-28-2009 06:13 PM

YESSSSSSSSSSS!
Through this whole album there is not one note that goes unloved.
Great review!

transparent_opacity 06-10-2009 12:10 AM

it is revolutinising the rock genre.. it is a masterpiece


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