Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sonic Youth, "Daydream Nation" (1988)

The 80s were a strange time.  Corporate culture was giving us images of happy shiny people with big hair & dubious fashion choices.  It's music was peppy, with big drum sounds.  Sonic Youth was one of the bands that seemed to speak to the disconnect that many of us felt with that culture.  The anger, the alienation. 

Some critics have commented on the record's title as a metaphor for their audience, saying that it was a rallying cry for the alternative/college community.  I'm not so sure that I agree.  Sonic Youth's music has always been aggressively East Coast urban.  If NYC & LA are hypermodern, existing a few years in the future, large portions of the country were (& are) slightly premodern, existing a few years in the past.  The implicit artiness & futurism (albeit a dystopian one) of Sonic Youth's music distances them from the day to day experience of much of their audience, especially in 1988.

At the end of the day, this is a great record.  Perhaps my favorite by Sonic Youth.

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