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Music / Daydream Nation

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Hey Joni, put it all behind you
Daydream Nation is the fifth album by Alternative Rock band Sonic Youth, released in 1988. Made with almost twice the usual budget of their previous albums, it was their most expensively produced album up to that point. With frontman Thurston Moore on a writing spree, it ended up as a double album.

Upon its release, it received almost unanimous critical acclaim for its use of noise, jam influenced song structures, and surrealist lyrics. It is often considered one of the greatest Alternative Rock albums of The '80s, if not of all time. It was chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Recording Registry in 2005.


  • Thurston Moore – guitar, vocals, piano, production
  • Kim Gordon – bass, guitar, vocals, production
  • Lee Ranaldo – guitar, vocals, production
  • Steve Shelley – drums, production


  • Nick Sansano – production, engineering
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering
  • Dave Swanson – engineering assistance
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Matt Tritto – engineering assistance

Track list (note that exact track lengths may vary depending upon release)

  1. Teen Age Riot (6:58)
  2. Silver Rocket (3:47)
  3. The Sprawl (7:43)
  4. 'Cross the Breeze (7:01)
  5. Eric's Trip (3:48)
  6. Total Trash (7:33)
  7. Hey Joni (4:23)
  8. Providence (2:41)
  9. Candle (4:58)
  10. Rain King (4:41)
  11. Kissability (3:09)
  12. Trilogy (14:08)
    • a) The Wonder (4:16)
    • b) Hyperstation (7:15)
    • z) Eliminator Jr. (2:38)

These are Eric's Tropes...

  • Album Title Drop: The album's title comes from the line "Daydreaming days in a daydream nation", from the "Hyperstation" section of the suite which closes the recording, "Trilogy".
    • The song "Candle" is something of an album cover drop.
  • Alliterative Title: "Total Trash"
  • Breather Episode: "Providence" and "Kissability" are significantly lighter in mood and less heavy than the surrounding material. "Teen Age Riot" doesn't entirely qualify, since it's the first song, but it's also Lighter and Softer than most of the album. "Total Trash" and "The Sprawl" might also be considered downplayeds example: they're both still pretty heavy, but more laid-back in mood and tempo than most of the album.
  • Captain Obvious: During the chorus of "Total Trash", Thurston finds it necessary to point out that "it's a natural fact that I'm not no cow".
  • Concept Album: Not entirely, but several songs are inspired by William Gibson's works; "The Sprawl" even takes its title from his Sprawl Trilogy (which is also the name of its principal setting).
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  • Epic Rocking: Almost half the album. "Teen Age Riot", "The Sprawl", "'Cross the Breeze" and "Total Trash" are all around seven to eight minutes, but the crowning example is the "Trilogy" that closes the album, which lasts for over 14 minutes. Some releases of the album divide it into three tracks, though the "Hyperstation" section is still over seven minutes long.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "The Wonder" and "Hyperstation".
  • In the Style of...: "Eliminator Jr." tries to sound like ZZ Top and Dinosaur Jr.
  • Last Note Nightmare: While "Providence" is overall quite serene, it does end with a Drone of Dread. "Eliminator Jr." also serves as something of one for the entire album, as it's one of the heaviest tracks and follows a fairly dreamlike coda to the preceding "Hyperstation" movement.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "The Sprawl" references William Gibson.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: The album closes with "Trilogy" (14:02).
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover painting by German artist Gerhard Richter, Kurze (Candle).
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard to place, as the album forgoes heavy distortion in favor of strange guitar noises, but songs like "Teen Age Riot" and "The Sprawl" are easily 5-6, with "Hey Joni","Eric's Trip", and "Cross The Breeze" being in the 6-7 range due to pure speed and noisiness."Silver Rocket" goes from a 6 to a 9 or 10 during the noise solo, and "Eliminator, Jr. is easily a 7 or 8. Songs like "Candle" and "Hyperstation" can drop below this, and "Providence" hops from a 1 to a 2 due to the white noise.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Teen Age Riot" is a presidential campaign song for J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr..
    • "Take a walk in the park? SHIT YEAH!" from "Eliminator, Jr."
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Most of Thurston's songs, excluding "Silver Rocket" and "The Wonder". Averted by both Kim and Lee, with the former's passionately grunted delivery, and the latter's shouted deadpan delivery.
  • Shout-Out: The aforementioned "Teen Age Riot" is about Dinosaur Jr., "Hey Joni" references Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" and singer Joni Mitchell, and "The Sprawl" is a reference to several works by William Gibson (most famously, Neuromancer, the first novel of his Sprawl Trilogy).
    • The album's closer "Eliminator Jr." is named as such because the band thought it sounded like a combination of ''Eliminator-era ZZ Top and Dinosaur Jr.. The fact that it's part z in "Trilogy" also reinforces the ZZ Top reference.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The video for "Teen Age Riot" mixes up footage of everyone from Elvis Presley to Henry Rollins to Nastassja Kinski in Paris, Texas. Go to the video's IMDB page for the full list.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Lee Ranaldo's songs "Hey Joni", "Eric's Trip", and "Rain King" all feature this. For example: "Shots ring out from the center of an empty field/Joni's in the tall grass/She's a beautiful mental jukebox, a sailboat explosion/A snap of electric whipcrack"

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