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Thursday, November 26, 2009

29 in 2009 - Sonic Youth: "Daydream Nation"

Sonic Youth:  Daydream Nation
Originally Released:  October 1988
Genres:  Indie, Rock, Alternative
Rating:  2 out of 10

I'm totally okay with admitting that I don't "get" what the big deal about Sonic Youth is/was.  The first time I ever hear the bad is when they covered The Carpenters' song several years back.  I didn't get it then.  So I ignored them.  Later on as I got more and more into indie music, the band's name kept on creeping up.  I finally downloaded Daydream Nation to see what all the fuss was about.  I listened for about 15 minutes and decided that what I was hearing was entirely too shitty for words, and went to listen to some decent stuff instead.

So a few years pass.  "Juno" comes out and Diablo Cody perfectly expresses my sentiments toward the band through a fictional high school girl.  Finally!  I'm not alone!  But tastes change, people.  My musical preferences go through phases.  With that in mind, I happily nominated this album for this series and you all voted it in.

Why?  I'm not sure because this album still sucks a fat one.  Granted, "Teen Age Riot" is much more pleasant to my ears these days than it used to be, as are a few others (like the first two parts of "Trilogy"), but the last time I checked there isn't a single person in Sonic Youth who has any sort of vocal talent whatsoever.  Thurston Moore is least guilty for crimes against humanity ('s ears), as his tunes are at least listenable.  Ranaldo is a little more flagrant in his lack of vocal abilities, most notably in "Hey Joni." 

But let's focus for a second on Kim Gordon who more or less vomits into her hands and then flails that at the microphone.  Her singing is not bad.  It's atrocious.  When she sings "I wanna know/should I stay or go," I literally cringe.  It is something that has no place in the world, much less a music record.  Her voice absolutely ruins "Trilogy," which until she stepped up to the mic was becoming one of the album's best tracks. 

The guitars, bass, drums and all that sort of stuff?  It's passable; definitely much more acceptable to me now than it was with my first listen to this album all those years ago.  However, when it comes to music, the whole is usually the sum of its parts, so my feelings about this album are abolutely weighed down by the vocals that are far too distracting for me.  It's a shame, really, that my opinions are more in line with a fictional high school girl than with the majority of the fawning music press.  But Juno was more or less right.  Sonic Youth is "just noise" most of the time.  The rest of the time they are amateur at best and not worth my time.

Verdict:  Overrated Crap

1 comment:

Sunglasses Guy said...

I agree the Daydream Nation is overrated, but their early stuff in incredible (even less listenable). Try out Bad Moon Rising.