I first listened to Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation twenty years ago when I was 15, and my first reaction was, “What the fuck is?” I knew that Sonic Youth was supposed to be these incredible alternative rock pioneers that toured with Nirvana shortly before Nevermind came out, and Kim Gordon had a brief cameo in an episode of The Simpsons, but didn’t know anything else about them.
The hip alternative DC radio station at the time, WHFS, wasn’t hip enough to play Sonic Youth, and Spotify didn’t exist, so I had to go to Sam Goody and buy Daydream Nation to see what the big deal was. I hated it. It was noisy, it was repetitive, and the lyrics didn’t make a bit of sense.
As time passed, the album grew on me. I now get why Daydream Nation—which is 30 years old today—matters so much. It’s a work of modern art that should featured at the Hirshorn Museum, and a bridge between the underground 1980s alternative music scene and the early—90s alternative rock explosion.
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