Saturday, February 26, 2011

329- Daydream Nation- Sonic youth back when they were youth

Album: Daydream Nation

Artist: Sonic Youth
Genre: Punk
Year: 1988

  1. Teen Age 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

Sonic Youth have my undying respect and admiration. As a band they really are an incredibly impressive outfit. Not many acts that started back in 1977 are still going strong today and have their integrity in tact and their fanbase firmly in place. U2 began life around the same time but there aren’t many people who love their entire catalogue. But Sonic Youth have continued to release music and managed to hold onto their fans despite being genuinely innovative and daring in their musical approach. During their life they never sold out or compromised their artistic integrity in any way. As a concept they’re hard not to like- as a musical outfit they’re a lot more... challenging.

My experience with Sonic Youth before this album came from Goo which they released two years later. Goo was their first signing with a major record label and is considered their most accessible release, although I should point out that accessible is definitely a relative term. It’s accessible in the way that the Everest base camp is accessible when compared to the summit. There’s a still a lot of effort required to get there.

Daydream Nation is more challenging still. It’s refusal to sit in any genre makes it impossible to adequately define. But unlike other difficult-to-box albums that are complicated because they’ve incorporated so many influences it sounds like Sonic Youth have invented their own sources of inspiration. It doesn’t sound like they were influenced by punk it sounds more like punk was influenced by them but hadn’t realised it until they came along.

I can appreciate this review hasn’t been especially helpful if you’re undecided as to whether you should give them a listen or not. Let me conclude by putting it this way- if you’re a fan of simple tunes, pleasant vocals, and guitar theatrics then this isn’t for you. If you like to work for your music and appreciate listening to an artist who is writing for you and not their record label overlords then this might well be your bag.

Influenced by: It could be polka and norwegian whaling songs as much as anything else.
Influenced: Indy rock.

Highlight: Teen Age Riot
Lowlight: Trilogy.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: “Sonic Youth are basically what is wrong with music nowadays. The rely on computerized Auto-Tune vocals, 4/4 rhythm, repetitive guitar riffs and immature lyrics about breakups for their fame. Thurston Moore is a horrible guitarist and Kim Gordon can't sing for her life without the use of computers. Check out Nickelback, Tokio Hotel, new Metallica or Seether for some good old fashioned rock n' roll the way it SHOULD be.”

-This is some very obvious trolling. But no obvious enough for the 26 people who felt the need to comment. You bunch of sillies. Do not feed the troll.

-So is this you’re idea of a perfect Daydream Nation or a trip to nightmare country? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. While I wildly disagree with a lot of your reviews -- except your Dylan ones and some others -- this one gets very much of a yes vote. I have quite a history with this record. I was in my twenties when a teenage intern at the newspaper where I work kindly made me a cassette. I listened to it repeatedly, then eventually bought the 2-disc reissue, and then someone from the record store gave me another copy. So I have one for the house and one for the car, and I do resort to the one in the car now and again. I love everything they've done even when they're just noodling around making noise. They are true sonic adventurers, and my world would be sadder without them.