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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

REVIEW Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation - Deluxe Edition

I was surprised this morning to hear that the ubiquitous swimming baby on Nirvana’s Nevermind turned sixteen this week. (Happy Birthday Spencer Elden) Yet another blow to a delicate mid-life crisis I have long endured. (It started when I was 15 I think) A more subtle reminder of my aging status though was the release of Sonic Youth’s 1988 masterpiece Daydream Nation in Deluxe Edition last week. In all its remastered, re-jigged, and ragged glory you would be hard pressed to find many fans of indie rock that don't have some deep connection with this record. Twenty years on and it still manages to leave me more than a little awe struck. That the record is great is a given but it's also one of a handful that helped shape the notion of what indie rock can potentially mean to a generation. Daydream Nation was a real touchstone recording. It represented an emerging punk rock scene that would eventually reach its zenith with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind almost four years later. It also represented a departure for the band, on its way from semi-obscurity to semi-fledged “rock” stardom.

At the time of Daydream Nation's first appearance, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) were well regarded in the critical music community. They were the New York band whose previous album Sister landed them on nearly every “best of” list only one year earlier. Daydream Nation though was the consistent one though that put them on the map and in the hearts of discerning music listeners everywhere. Songs like “Teenage Riot” to “Cross the Breeze”, the fourth track on the album reveal Sonic Youth’s vision to be nothing short of a revelation. Like only a handful of "classic" recordings, this one has aged very well. This is the record that launched a thousand xeroxed ‘zines and influenced would be future bloggers so intensely. What makes this latest release even more engaging though is the inclusion of an astounding collection of live performances, touching on every song on the album. Interestingly, the band will be taking this record on the road to perform it live its entirety this summer at select locations. What this aging hipster wouldn’t do to witness that spectacle again so many years later. At least we’ve got this disc to put on and sit under the patio lanterns, ipods blasting on the Expressway to Yr Skull.

Highly recommended. PPPPP (That's 5 POPS outta 5 Folks)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have excellent musical taste Mr. Wright. Nice assessment.