Sonic Youth "Daydream Nation"
Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation", their fifth studio album and first double album, was released on October 18, 1988, after being recorded between July and August of the same year at Greene St. Recording in New York City.
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Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation", their fifth studio album and first double album, was released on October 18, 1988, after being recorded between July and August of the same year at Greene St. Recording in New York City. It was released by Enigma Records and received critical acclaim, becoming Sonic Youth's greatest work and one of the greatest albums of all time. It also influenced alternative and indie rock genres and was chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Recording Registry in 2005.
The band's songwriting method for "Daydream Nation" involved Thurston Moore bringing in melody ideas and chord changes, which the band developed into full-length songs through long jams lasting over half an hour. Sonic Youth's live improvisations were highly praised by friends of the band, who felt their records did not capture the same essence. The recording process for "Daydream Nation" was efficient due to the band's extensive preparation, but became rushed towards the end due to time pressure from their label. The album ultimately cost $30,000 to make and was referred to by Moore as "our first non-econo record".
The album "Daydream Nation" is considered to be an innovative work of avant-rock, alternative rock, indie rock, art punk, and post-punk genres. Its unconventional guitar tuning and song structure, with many tracks ending in long instrumental sections, make it stand out. The album's influence on later alternative and indie rock music, including the famous grunge band Nirvana, is also noteworthy. The lyrics of the album cover topics such as burnout, the music industry, and the crack epidemic of the late 1980s.
One of the album's tracks, "The Sprawl" was inspired by science fiction author William Gibson's "Sprawl Trilogy", which envisioned a futuristic mega-city stretching from Boston to Atlanta. The lyrics of the first verse of the song were borrowed from Denis Johnson's novel "The Stars at Noon". Another track, "'Cross the Breeze", features intense vocals from band member Kim Gordon, with lyrics like "Let's go walking on the water/Now you think I'm Satan's daughter/I wanna know, should I stay or go?/I took a look into your hate/It made me feel very up to date". "Eric's Trip" draws from a character's LSD-fueled monologue in the Andy Warhol film "Chelsea Girls".
"Hey Joni", sung by band member Lee Ranaldo, pays tribute to Joni Mitchell and the classic rock song "Hey Joe". The surreal lyrics of the song reference William Gibson's "Neuromancer" with the line "In this broken town, can you still jack in/And know what to do?" Other songs on the album, such as "Rain King" and "Eric's Trip", also draw from literary and cinematic sources.
The track "Providence" features a piano solo by band member Thurston Moore, recorded at his mother's house using a Walkman, with the sound of a Peavey Roadmaster amp overheating and messages from Mike Watt, calling from a payphone in Providence, Rhode Island, overlaid on top of each other. The album's closing track, "Eliminator Jr.", was named after the "Preppie Killer" Robert Chambers and given the "z" in the album's "Trilogy" in reference to ZZ Top.