Feedback Loop: Weirdo Nation

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The sparse yet sprawling feedback-damaged pop of No Age's Weirdo Rippers is a surefire sign that Sonic Youth's guitar-rock statement, 1988's Daydream Nation, has stood the test of time, its influence still echoing 20 years later. Upon the release of the Daydream Nation Deluxe Edition double-disc reissue, we asked No Age guitarist Randy Randall to pen a few words on the record's impact.

Randy Randall on Daydream Nation:
I remember there being a very clear line in my adolescent discovery of music, from Nirvana's Nevermind to Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation, and I never wanted to go back after that point.

Wet, dripping, melting, crammed in the corner of my room; this is how I first heard Daydream Nation one scorching summer afternoon, and I couldn't accept that it was really supposed to be musical in any way. It shook the foundation of what I thought music could be. It took my young brain three long summer months to finally accept the message that this record was drilling into my mind: Guitars should be loud, and threaten to break your speakers and ears as they deliver sickly sweet pop masterpieces.

Daydream Nation has always been a fever dream of teenage punk anthems delivered via warped grooves. It's one of the best wholly conceived Sonic Youth records, containing stand-out flip-your-wig jewels like "Teen Age Riot" and "Eric's Trip." I was recently hipped to the idea that "Teen Age Riot" was written about Dinosaur Jr., which, when you listen to the lyrics "You come running in on platform shoes/With Marshall stacks," makes complete sense. Sonic Youth has never been a group to hide its inspirations, and they are on full view on Daydream Nation: The screaming guitar melodies of Dinosaur Jr. and slashing psychedelic riffs of Red Kross come across loud and clear.

This deluxe edition could not come at a better time, with amazing bands like Comets on Fire and Deerhunter pushing the sonic boundaries that were first cracked by Daydream Nation. The record stands as an important marker separating two distinct eras of Sonic Youth's ever-EVOLving musical journey. The move from sonic explorations and layered deconstruction to '60s-influenced pop structures is documented as a royal rumble, a no-holds-barred fight within the span of 73 minutes. Nearly 20 years later, Daydream Nation still stands as a monument of fuzz and blissful blasts of pop hooks and mesmerizing layers. Hurray for the men and women of Sonic Youth who broke the minds of the masses!