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By alternating moments of meticulous songcraft with long blasts of raw, cathartic noise, Sonic Youth accomplished the unlikely with this 1988 recording -- they got signed to a major label contract. SY began in the early '80s mostly interested in blasts of guitar feedback and distortion. As their interest in songs emerged they used compositional form to heighten the emotional impact of the dissonant bursts. Daydream Nation, a 71-minute sprawl, features some of their best tunes, including "Teenage Riot," "Eric's Trip," and "Kissability." The album established them as one of the premiere indie-rock bands of the '80s. Fans feared that with the major label money behind them, they might abandon their arty principles. If anything, guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, bassist Kim Gordon, and drummer Steve Shelley have diversified into many other musical and fashion endeavors. And as Sonic Youth they continue to record high caliber and completely unique music.
Performance CreditsSonic Youth Primary Artist
Lee Ranaldo Bass
Kim Gordon Bass
Thurston Moore Guitar
Steve Shelley Drums
Technical CreditsLee Ranaldo Composer,Contributor
Sonic Youth Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Kim Gordon Composer,Contributor
Thurston Moore Composer,Contributor
Nick Sansano Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Steve Shelley Composer,Contributor
Jutta Koether Liner Notes
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Like a lot of people, when I first heard Sonic Youth's music, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Yet, underneath the torrent of guitars and feedback, you can actually hear melodies and meaningful themes. When Sonic Youth released "Daydream Nation" in 1988, I'm sure that no one thought it would amount to much. More than two decades later, nearly everyone who loves rock (particularly alternative music) has used nothing but superlatives to describe this album. The Universal Music Deluxe Series has re-released this album and have given it the care and the attention it deserves, right down to the "Lep Zepellin ZOSO" symbols on the CDs. From the expansive opening of "Teenage Riot" to the three-part "Trilogy" which closes the album, here was a different kind of rock that owed much to experimental jazz like Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra (who toured with Sonic Youth in the 90's) as it did with their fellow gothamites, The Velvet Underground. This was a group that could take a simple two-minute punk number like "Silver Rocket" and drag it along with drenching distortion. The vocal duties are shared by guitarist Thurston Moore and bassist Kim Gordon while fellow guitarist Lee Renaldo provides a great deal of the amp-shredding and Steve Shelley does probably the best Tommy Ramone impersonation of all time. However, the album is not all "noise". Probably the best song on the record isn't really a song: "Providence", featuring a scratchy amp, a lonely piano playing in the distance and a telephone answering machine with a message from legendary bassist Mike Watt. The Deluxe Edition of this album features a live recording of nearly every song off "Daydream Nation", proving that the group killed live. But the real surprise here is a collection of cover tunes. Their take of The Beatles' "Within You, Without You" substitutes lengthy guitar feedback for sitars and it sounds brilliant while their cover of Neil Young's "Computer Age" charges in a way that Neil's synthed-up version never could. To show just how Dadaist this group really was, there is even a cover of Captain Beefheart's "Electricity", as if they HAD to do that. Sonic Youth are in the process of releasing another album soon and the word is already going around that this album may be as excellent as "Daydream Nation". In the meantime, we can get lost in this nation for a while.