Review #171: Daydream Nation, Sonic Youth

Karla Clifton
3 min readSep 10, 2021

#171: Daydream Nation, Sonic Youth

People have questioned my choice to take this musical journey in the order I have been. That is, “Why are you starting at 1, instead of 500? Shouldn’t you get to the best one last?”

Well, the answer is that the order means nothing to me, personally. Some of my favorite albums are at the bottom of the list, not the top. For instance, Marvin Gaye (#1) is a genius, but I had way more fun listening to My Chemical Romance (#361). And you know what? I think The Black Parade is just as good as What’s Goin’ On. I’ll say it.

Anyway. I burned this album to a CD in high school and played it all the time. The best thing about Daydream Nation is that it’s also a weapon. If you have to drive your younger siblings anywhere and want them to have a horrible time, put this on.

But that’s on them for not getting it. This album opened up a lot of other worlds in music for me; I learned that dissonance actually sounds amazing, and that seven-minute guitar fills are magical. The RS blurb puts it beautifully when they say that Sonic Youth’s “guitars are like antennae picking up otherworldly signals and channeling them [into] scuzzy urban haze.”

How come my guitar just sounds like an AM radio? Oh yeah, it’s because I’m playing it.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Teen Age Riot” — This album is just teenager catnip. What wannabe grunge teen wouldn’t want to be a part of this teen-aged riot?

“Silver Rocket” — I love how it briefly includes what sounds like a plane crash in the middle.

“The Sprawl” — Oh, hi, Kim Gordon! This one really does sprawl — there’s just three minutes of ambient guitar sounds at the end. Come on down to the store/You can buy some more and more and more and more.

“’Cross The Breeze” — I love when Kim Gordon just screams.

“Eric’s Trip” — This song was inspired by an Andy Warhol film “Chelsea Girls,” which is just so pretentious I can’t stand it.

“Total Trash” — Technically, this song has the same name as Garbage’s greatest hits album, Absolute Garbage. (WHY isn’t Garbage on here again?) I also love how these songs just get more and more terrifying as the album goes on.

“Hey Joni” — Is this a Joni Mitchell callout? Or a Jimi Hendrix callout? Obsessed either way. Kick it!

“Providence” — I like this one because it’s a brief reprieve from terrifying guitar noises. Instead, we get terrifying piano and turbulence noises.

“Candle” — Beautiful guitar pick intro that quickly segues into terrifying guitar sounds.

“Kissability” — I love that Kim Gordon gets to sound so masculine and scary.

“Trilogy: Z) Eliminator, Jr.” — Oh HELL yeah, where did this heavy metal guitar come from? The only part of the trilogy that I absolutely love.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Trilogy: A) the Wonder” — Apparently they wrote this trilogy last-minute. Honestly, it doesn’t sound distinguishable from the rest of the songs here, which is why I put it here. But I still love it.

“Trilogy: B) Hyperstation” Daydreaming days in a daydream nation. They said the name of the album!

IS RS FULL OF IT?

Not this time. Just call me a daydreaming teen in a daydream nation!

Review #170: Disraeli Gears, Cream

Review #172: Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel

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