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Daydream Nation (Deluxe Edition)

Sonic Youth

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Album Review

Great as it is, Sonic Youth's seminal Daydream Nation wasn't quite calling out for a deluxe edition reissue. While there were a few stray songs from concurrently released singles from the late '80s, the sprawling double LP didn't leave much original non-LP material in the vaults. None, in fact, so Universal's 2007 double-disc reissue relies on live versions of every song from the album, all recorded at various points throughout the years, and these are buttressed by a demo of "Eric's Trip" and covers originally heard on singles and tribute albums (the Beatles' "Within You, Without You," Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick," Neil Young's "Computer Age," Captain Beefheart's "Electricity"). So, anybody looking for big revelations or hidden gems will be disappointed by this deluxe edition, but it's hard to deny the pleasures in the live second disc, either. Instead of following the album's running order, this live set jumps from song to song, forcing attention on the strengths of the individual songs and Sonic Youth's always captivating, frequently riveting performances. This may not make for essential listening, but anybody who truly loves Daydream Nation will find this deluxe edition quite easy to enjoy.


Formed: 1981 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sonic Youth were one of the most unlikely success stories of underground American rock in the '80s. Where contemporaries R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü were fairly conventional in terms of song structure and melody, Sonic Youth began their career by abandoning any pretense of traditional rock & roll conventions. Borrowing heavily from the free-form noise experimentalism of the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, and melding it with a performance art aesthetic borrowed from the New York post-punk avant-garde,...
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