Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation [Enigma/Blast First, 1988]
At a historical juncture we can only hope isn't a fissure, a time when no sentient rock and roller could mistake extremism in the defense of liberty for a vice, the anarchic doomshows of Our Antiheroes' static youth look moderately prophetic and sound better than they used to. But they don't sound anywhere near as good as the happy-go-lucky careerism and four-on-the-floor maturity Our Heroes are indulging now. Whatever exactly their lyrics are saying--not that I can't make them out, just that catch-phrases like "You've got it" and "Just say yes" and "It's total trash" and "You're so soft you make me hard" are all I need to know--their discordant never-let-up is a philosophical triumph. They're not peering into the fissure, they're barreling down the turnpike like the fissure ain't there. And maybe they're right--they were the first time. A