"This is the way, Step inside"

- Joy Division

Daydream Nation (album) by Sonic Youth 

This album At A Glance
Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth (1988)
Overall rank: 55th   Overall chart history
Average Rating: 
84/100 (from 1,437 votes)
  Ratings distribution
Accolades: Best album of 1988 (1st)
Top 10 albums of the 1980s (7th)
Top 100 albums of all time (55th)

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Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation [1988] Blast First Enigma 7 75403-1 2LP Vinyl
Condition: Used
Time left:
9h 26m 53s

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Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth: New
Condition: Brand New
Time left:
11h 5m 22s

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Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation [New CD]
Condition: Brand New
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Sonic Youth bestography

Daydream Nation is ranked as the best album by Sonic Youth.

Sonic Youth album bestography « Higher ranked This album (55th) Lower ranked (472nd) »
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Members who like this album also like: Doolittle by Pixies, Loveless by My Bloody Valentine and The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths.

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Daydream Nation rankings

Daydream Nation ratings

Average Rating: 
84/100 (from 1,437 votes)
  Ratings distribution  Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
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Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 1,437 ratings for this album.

Date logged
No. album ratings
Avg. album rating
4 days ago
12/06/2018 10:55
12/05/2018 20:19
12/01/2018 06:16
  Ratings distribution 3 ratings
11/29/2018 02:32

Related links: , top albums of the 1980s, top albums of 1988.

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Daydream Nation comments

Showing latest 10 comments | Show all 117 comments | Most Helpful First | Newest First
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From DeusExMackia 10/18/2018 17:55
On this the 30th birthday of one my absolute favourite records of all time, I think it's timely to reflect on the astonishing, bewildering, fully realised masterpiece that is this record.

Daydream Nation stands as one of the most vast, most intense and most evocative albums of all time. I first found it back in 2015 and was enticed by it almost immediately, not fully realising why I enjoyed it so much but going ahead with the knowledge that one day this record was going to make sense for me.

Truth be told, I still don't know fully why I love this record, nor exactly what makes it so brilliant. And trying to ascertain even the vaguest sentence on that subject goes way, way beyond the conventional reasonings of album structure, guitar solos and lyrics. Daydream Nation is an idea, a vision of sorts, not just an album.

For me, it's a snapshot of the discordant loneliness of the urban youth in late 80s America. After a decade of social, political and economic upheaval that saw some fly to the top, it's the ones who are left behind that matter. The anecdotes, characters and references on the record are what populate this image; it colours a world that has become disconnected from the rest of society. That's where the name comes in; Daydream Nation. What better do people have to do when they're cut off from society but daydream about a better world?

It's in the light of these ideas that Providence is without a doubt the most important track on the album. Whilst not the absolute best - we'll get on to that in a moment - it carries a number of essential functions. Thematically, it serves as a half-way stop and gives your mind a break from the swirling, ravenous mass of noise that constitute the first 7 tracks. Contextually, it captures the sound of that image I described; a lonely, melancholy piano plays as the world whirrs endlessly round it, before the romanticising of such feelings is crushed by those downward guitars that bring everything back into focus: the world is leaving you behind, and you have to face the reality of that.

That of course is but one interpretation, and indeed a number of people I've met who also love the record have all said the same thing: they don't know what Daydream Nation is about. But they don't mean that in the sense that they're left clueless about it, they mean it in the sense that they know something is going on here, but just don't know how to describe it.

I also could not sit here and try and explain my love for each track. It's just too detailed and confusing, and I'm fairly convinced I could write an essay about every song. Even what I believe to be the weakest track on here - Rain King - is an insanely cool, forboding, overcast day of a song. At an absolute push though, the four standout tracks have to be the mind-bendingly insane 'Cross The Breeze, the politically inflamed Hey Joni, the delicate, beautiful Candle and the astonishing Trilogy, which has earned a place as my absolute favourite album closer I've found so far and without a doubt one of my top 5 all time favourite songs.

And even then, trying to quantify Daydream Nation is just so arbitrary. Going back to my previous point, at its core it is in an idea, a world you have to step into and fully embrace. In that sense, it's less of a record that 'still feels relevant today' and one that feels like a landmark in alternative music history, which its high regard within the music community certainly jusitifies.

Daydream Nation is not only Sonic Youth's absolute crowning achievement but one of the single greatest accomplishments in music history. A record that conjures up images and ideas so unique to it and so well developed within its sprawling noise rock sound that it goes far beyond being just an album, and is more akin to 71 minutes of audio escapism into a world of melancholic searching for connection in a setting left behind by a society that doesn't care about it.


Some extra notes:
- Those opening notes on Teen Age Riot are spine-tinglingly good.
- The Sprawl has one of the my absolute favourite lines ever: "Does f*ck you sound simply enough?"
- That moment of relaxation on the end of 'Cross The Breeze when the mad guitar chorus settles into a gentle, subtle post-punk ditty is so damn good. Gives you just enough relapse from the intensity of the previous 6 minutes so that you can recover from all that power.
- Hey Joni packs a "KICK IT" only equalled by the Beastie Boys' one on Fight For Your Right.
- The opening riff on Candle always puts me in mind of sunrise over Manhattan and is amazingly beautiful.
- I've written what might as well be an essay on Trilogy already, which is posted on the track listing. It's simply one of the most stunning piece of music I've ever heard and has so much depth to it that I don't think I could fathom all of it even in a lifetime.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +4 votes (4 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From NCanon 10/17/2018 21:14
Yeah its a masterpiece but i'm happy that its status as one doesn't hamper it in any way. Great songs performed by a band at the hight of its experimental talents.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From mdbaxter 10/17/2018 16:05
I can see where the high praise for this album comes from. It's very different than what was going on at the point in time that it was released. Has some great sound but ultimately, for me, it doesn't do as much as it seems it does for most people. Teenage Riot is an amazing song but other than that nothing really jumps out to much for me.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Ashmark 02/13/2018 23:59
A recent listen for me. Extremely catchy and interesting! I can understand the high ratings, though I am not quite there yet.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Sandrof1969 02/12/2018 17:38
Capolavoro dei Sonic Youth, disco che sta in una perfetta via di mezzo tra la furia incontrollata dei primi dischi e la maturità di "Dirty"... L'apice nell'iniziale "Teenage riot".
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From micah88800 12/26/2017 21:31
Am I missing something with this album? I've tried numerous times over the years to get into it, but I usually tap out about halfway in. I love Teenage Riot, but after that all I hear is noise and poor production. And I'm a huge fan of shoegaze, so noise isnt the problem. I'm just not picking up on the advanced sonic textures and nuanced punk riffing that everyone else is. I love albums like Loveless, Siamese Dream, Dootlittle, The Queen is Dead, and Disintegration. Those albums are always lumped together in with this one, but for some reason I just cant get into it. Maybe one day it'll click, but as for now I'm gonna say overrated.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (7 helpful | 4 unhelpful)
From PaperVinnie 12/15/2017 03:06
I've already commented here, but I just typed up a much better description of whats great about this album and why it's my favorite on my greatest overall album chart, if you need to be convinced of why this record is amazing.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From Jbalbinolr 11/18/2017 15:23
Impactful, this isn´t a 10 because the mixing can make your ear bleed sometimes. But based solely in the music, there isn´t a weak track in here.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (3 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
From sidneyfranklyn 10/30/2017 10:01
Sonic Youth laugh in the face of their supposedly constraining medium of guitars, bass and drums, proving that any instruments can sound like a symphony if you're good enough.

The first four tracks show this off perfectly: three of them are 7 minutes-plus but they're played with such precision that they fly by. Silver Rocket on the other hand masquerades as a straightforward rock single before unpacking and reassembling itself to a screeching sonic soup all in under four minutes. Not since the microwave oven has something bent the passing of time so easily.
Despite being on the longer side, the band don't let the momentum drop for a single minute.

Most of this is copied from the description of the album in my overall chart, do check it out if you have the time!!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +3 votes (3 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From JulianR 10/27/2017 02:47
A very interesting album. I didn't really like it starting out, but the guitar work really spoke to me on basically all the songs. The vocals can be a bit lackluster though, in that they seem forced.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)

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Best Albums of 1988
1. Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth
2. Surfer Rosa by Pixies
3. Spirit Of Eden by Talk Talk
4. It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back by Public Enemy
5. ...And Justice For All by Metallica
6. Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A
7. Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman
8. Isn't Anything by My Bloody Valentine
9. Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction
10. Green by R.E.M.
11. Operation: Mindcrime by Queensrÿche
12. Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son by Iron Maiden
13. I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen
14. If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues
15. The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 by The Traveling Wilburys
16. Surfer Rosa & Come On Pilgrim by Pixies
17. Rattle And Hum by U2
18. Substance by Joy Division
19. 16 Lovers Lane by The Go-Betweens
20. Viva Hate by Morrissey

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