The album starts off with "Teen Age Riot", which is the album's most popular song and the quintessential Sonic Youth song. A minute-plus intro over which Kim Gordon says random childhood phrases as well as "spirit desire, we will fall" gives way to a punky riff. Thurston's Moore's lyrics are somewhat abstract, supposedly about J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. being president. Regardless, the song has an undeniable hook (a rarity for the band) and is just a total anthem. “Silver Rocket” follows and is probably the punkiest song on the album. “The Sprawl” is a winding song containing a few verses by Kim Gordon and dreamy-sounding music vaguely similar to what My Bloody Valentine would be doing soon enough. “’Cross the Breeze” goes from a calm intro to a thrashing riff; the band slows it down a little for Kim to yell out some of her most anguished lyrics. “Eric’s Trip” is the first song sung by Lee Ranaldo on the album and is one of the best. “Total Trash” has an almost ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll feel to its main melody, but it soon becomes a total mess of guitar feedback before briefly returning to the melodic section. “Hey Joni” is another one sung by Lee and is a bit faster than his previous tune. “Providence” is a bit weird, featuring amplifier noise, piano, and a tape recording message of Mike Watt of Minutemen to Thurston. “Candle” is another excellent song sung by Thurston and one of the album’s most melodic ones. “Rain King” is the third Lee song, and despite it being the weakest of the three, it is still quite good. “Kissability” is one of the poppiest songs on the album, featuring actual singing by Kim instead of mere talking or yelling. “Trilogy”, as the title suggests, is broken up into three parts: “The Wonder” is tension-filled and melodic, “Hyperstation” is an epic, strung-out midsection, yet “Eliminator Jr.” seemingly comes out of nowhere, upping the intensity level to new heights and ending the album in an odd yet appropriate way.
I guess that the coolest thing about this album for me is how adolescent that it sounds. It’s weird because even though some of the album sounds like noise, it is a pretty sophisticated work musically with all of the weird guitar tunings and effects and such. Lyrically, it’s all over the place, although many of the lyrics are up for interpretation. Despite this, Sonic Youth still sounds like the ultimate garage rock band, like a bunch of kids making what you think is just noisy garbage at first but with repeated listens becomes some truly awesome music. (That said, the album can be a little hard to get into, but it’s worth it.) ‘Daydream Nation’ is highly recommended to indie/alternative fans, open-minded rock fans, and any disillusioned teenage musicians out there looking for inspiration.