What makes a good album “good”? Well, if a buyer can pick it up years and years and years after it was made and still go “Wow,” most likely it’s a pretty good album.
The liner notes of Sonic Youth’s final album on independent label, Daydream Nation, are pretty self-congratulatory. Those kind of notes usually serve as a warning: Alert! Preciousness ahead!
No such luck.
Daydream Nation lives up to its well-deserved reputation, and for an album that’s more than a decade old, it still sounds a years ahead of its time. Makes me almost wonder just how mind-blowing this record — and the Youth did release this long-player on two of those black discs — would have sounded in the musical netherworld of the late 1980s.
My own introduction to Sonic Youth started (and ended) with 1990’s Goo, an album in which critics back then gasped over the “tunes” found therein. Don’t know what the fuss was about — Daydream Nation has its share of tunes, albeit buried under long stretches of glorious, mountainous geetar noise.
If I remember correctly, everybody (read: critics) was tripping over themselves to put this album on a pedestal.
Daydream Nation is a masterpiece, and years from now, some young, unsuspecting would-be rocker will plug this album into whatever audio appliances exist in the future and say the same word I said when I first heard it.