Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
2
Free sample

Daydream Nation is the kind of gorgeous monstrosity (born of extremes, rife with difficulties, and mythic in proportion) that can crush the will of the most resilient, well-intentioned listener if the necessary preparations haven't been made. Matthew Stearns explores the album from a range of angles, including a track-by-track analysis and a look at the historical and cultural context within which the album was made. Featuring a foreword by Lee Ranaldo and exclusive interviews with the band, this truly is the definitive guide to Daydream Nation.
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About the author


Matthew Stearns is a regular contributor to Resonance magazine. A onetime graduate student in comparative literature, he has also held down jobs as a seasonal construction worker in Alaska, black-market babysitter in Paris, bookseller, editorial assistant, and record store clerk.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Mar 20, 2007
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Pages
172
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ISBN
9781441188717
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Genres & Styles / Pop Vocal
Music / Genres & Styles / Rock
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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By the time Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke entered the studio to begin work on this album, they were basically falling apart at the seams. "Ladyfriend", a song written by Crosby, had just failed miserably as a chart single despite the fact that he lobbied hard to get it released. This - coupled with the fact that he made what the rest of the band considered an embarrassing political speech onstage during their set at the Monterey Pop Festival, and then sat in with rivals the Buffalo Springfield the following day - pushed McGuinn and Hillman in particular to the limits of their patience. Then, for the Notorious sessions, Crosby presented a song called "Triad", written about a threesome, and although McGuinn and Hillman reluctantly agreed to record it, they later decided to place a less controversial Goffin & King pop number called "Goin' Back" on the album instead. Crosby declared the song banal and refused to sing on it. A few too many studio flare-ups later, McGuinn and Hillman finally screeched up into the Hollywood Hills in their Jaguars and fired Crosby on the spot. Also brooding during this period was drummer Michael Clarke, who had always borne the brunt of the other band members' rage while recording. He was by far the least accomplished member of the band musically, and when they suggested bringing in a studio drummer to embellish some tracks (Jim Gordon, later of Derek & the Dominos fame), he finally declared he'd had enough and moved to Hawaii to get away from the music scene altogether. So, McGuinn and Hillman were left to cobble together an album with the help of producer Gary Usher (known for his work with Brian Wilson, the Millenium, Sagittarius and many others). The fact that it turned out to be one of the defining albums of the 60s psychedelic pop experience was either a sheer stroke of luck, or a testament to McGuinn and Hillman's determination to prove that they didn't need Crosby's help to construct their masterpiece.
Marc Woodworth's book covers the album's long and unorthodox period of writing, recording, sequencing, and editing. It includes interviews with members of the band, manager Pete Jamison, web-master and GBV historian Rich Turiel and Robert Griffin of Scat Records. At least sixty-five songs were recorded and considered for the album and five distinct concepts were rejected before the band hit upon the records final form. One late version, very nearly released, contained only a few of Bee Thousand's definitive songs.

The rest were left out and nearly ended up in the boxes of cassette out-takes cluttering up Robert Pollard's basement. The story of Guided By Voices transformation from an occasional and revolving group of complete unknowns to indie-rock heroes is very much part of the story behind the making of Bee Thousand.

In addition to providing a central account of how the record was made, Woodworth devotes a substantial chapter to the album's lyrics. Robert Pollard's lyrics are described by critics, when they're described at all, as a brand of tossed-off surrealism, as if his verbal sensibility is somehow incidental to the songs themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Woodworth offers a sustained discussion of Pollard's work as a writer of often sublime, beautiful, and very human lyrics.

The third key section of the book covers aesthetics. Woodworth considers the great appeal of the do-it-yourself nature of Bee Thousand and reflects on the larger importance of the strain of alternative rock for which this record is a touchstone.
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