The Rise of Sonic Youth!

Hey folks, we’re back again this month with another podcast episode on the early years of Sonic Youth (1980’s specifically). I’ve got a question, am I the only one who thinks that albums like Sister or even EVOL are better entry points into the Sonic Youth discography than Daydream Nation? Nothing against latter, I think it deserves its accolades, but I just think Sister is more immediate and accessible. What do you think? Anyway, check out episode 35 on Sonic Youth!

I’d agree Sister is a better in than Daydream Nation, but I’d disagree on EVOL, which is one that I personally came to appreciate much more gradually (as with Bad Moon Rising)

Maybe I should give that one a shot? Like I said in the other thread I’ve been trying to get into them for ages, but the only songs I like are the first four on Daydream Nation, “Orange Rolls, Angel’s Spit”, and “The Empty Page”.

Another hot takes thread?


I’m dangerously close to making it one but I’m trying to hold my tongue.

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Let it out

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the suspense is killing me


We could have a sweepstake.

NYC Ghosts & Flowers is better than Daydream Nation?


if it’s not an SYR EP, it’s corporate garbage intended only to appease David Geffen


It’s getting too hot in here! Tapps aff!


Fair point on EVOL. I agree it’s not better than Daydream Nation, but I do personally find it a bit more accessible.


I think the most impressive thing they’ve ever done** is convince the world that bad / lazy songwriting meant they were experimental and not bad / lazy. (And meanwhile certain bands who actually were experimental don’t get as much credit for it because they pulled it off seamlessly.)

Runner up is “'Cross the Breeze” though, THAT’s a song and I want the band that made that to release three decades of albums.

** granted I haven’t heard everything, but I’ve tried so many best of playlists and their most praised albums repeatedly and I just don’t see it. I would love to be wrong though, given how much they’ve inspired bands I love.

Sister is their best album closely followed by Daydream Nation. Don’t particularly care for the others but then I haven’t dug into them much

EDIT EVOL and Bad Moon Rising have their moments

I’m a strong advocate for the run of albums starting with Washing Machine and ending with (and including) Sonic Nurse. Might include Rather Ripped in there, too, actually; and I do include The Destroyed Room (mostly instrumental B-sides and rarities from this era).

Many of those albums do fall into the Sonic Youth trap of being a bit too long, but when I set aside the time to listen from start to finish, I’m rarely disappointed. (Murray St. is good in this regard, loads of ideas and pretty short by latter day SY standards).

I’ve never really gotten on with The Eternal.


My two favourite :grinning:

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I know it’s not cool because MAJOR LABEL SELL OUTS but I bloody love Dirty. I think it’s a brilliant record. 100% - what an opener. Might go and stick it on when I get home*

  • I won’t because the kids will be blasting Grimes on the stereo, but I can dream.

My favourite record of theirs is Murray Street. Is this one of those hot takes the young people enjoy?


Don’t think it’s a particularly contrary position. Sister’s a better album but Daydream Nation has better tracks: Hey Joni & 'Cross the Breeze in particular.

“I shouldn’t laugh… haha”

Personally I find something to like in virtually every era of Sonic Youth and I love the progression you can hear over the course of the first 10 years or so. No problem at all with anyone not liking something but “bad/lazy songwriting” sets off my Mojo Klaxon pretty heavily.

I’m genuinely interested to hear who “certain bands” are.

Remenber that time there was a South Bank Show special about them?


You probably weren’t following the other thread :grinning:

Yeah, maybe I was a little harsh, but a lot of the time it feels like he’s throwing dissonant progressions at the wall and hoping something sticks. It doesn’t seem like if someone were to ask him, “why did you make this decision at X:XX in this song” that there would be an answer for it in many cases. Their music for the most part strikes me as just being there, and I wish it weren’t because on paper they’re a band that I should love. Maybe the best way to put it is that it doesn’t feel carefully crafted but at the same time doesn’t have that out of control electricity that comes with spontaneity either.

I did like a lot of his 2014 solo album though, musically at least.