Monday, November 03, 2008

Before Our Time: Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

Preston and I have been discussing new features add to the blog, and the first of many to come is "Before Our Time". In which we'll discuss and review albums that were released before we were old enough to appreciate them.

Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation was released when I was 4. I definitely didn't hear of it then. I was too busy rocking out to my favorite Sesame Street tracks to latch on to the latest in independent music. I first heard about Sonic Youth sometime in the late 90's when I was knee deep in what I will refer to as my "Weezer phase." I didn't give them a 2nd thought, they weren't Weezer, and had never toured with Weezer. As my musical horizons expanded I heard more and more about this band, and specifically their album Daydream Nation. Eventually in 2002, Pitchfork had announced Daydream Nation as their number one album of the 1980s (See the full list here, I generally like most of it). At that point I knew that there must be something to this album. I went out and bought it. It was a wall of noise assaulting my eardrums. I truly did not understand it.
Every year or so I would hear a band talk about the album in an interview or a friend would talk about how great it was and I would try again, to no avail. After a few years of trying the album, I gave up, sold the CD to a used record shop. Flash forward to 2007, my tastes in music were the broadest they'd ever been. I was watching a documentary on early punk rock. Thurston Moore (lead singer of Sonic Youth) was being interviewed. I can't remember what he said, but I remember thinking his views on Music seemed absolutely brilliant to me. I decided to revisit the album.
For whatever reason, It all came together in my head. I was sold. From beginning to end the album started to sound like a symphony to me. An intricate working with guitars and effect pedals and feedback and pop hooks and atonality. This, to me, was punk rock at it's finest. It pushed the limits of conventional music. It was pure gut rock, without becoming butt rock. For me, it is an album that can never be fully appreciated without a good pair of headphones, a comfortable seat, and some privacy. Since that fateful day, Daydream Nation, along with a few other choice Sonic Youth a;bums have been in heave rotation in my music collection.

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