Friday, March 09, 2012

20 Essential Albums: Daydream Nation

Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth

I bought Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation from the Columbia Record Club, when they were running a special on double-record sets. I’d known Sonic Youth from songs of their earlier release Evol and decided to take a chance on this one (I had to fill my quota anyway).  The album is like a dream, guitars rattling or dying away into a tepid dream. The album’s opener “Teenage Riot”, the most popular song from this record, begins with the steady strumming, where you can actually hear the strings, before breaking open to the fast pace of most Sonic Youth material.

There is something in the atonality, just the wrong notes struck at the right time, that seems to characterize a particular way of life, a particular attitude.  “Candle” does this well, with verses that are calming and emotive, but with breaks where guitars screech and drums bang before the song turns around again.

Sonic Youth would go on to release Goo two years later in 1990, with songs more song-oriented and more popular. And Dirty a couple years after that is in the same vein.  These albums are great as well, but sometimes it is the initial entrée into an artist’s work that stays with you.

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