World War III Radio: Sonic Youth – Daydream nation (1988)

Lost past. Long ago past. Thirty-four years. Lost future. Nostalgia is such a strange beast. Add a whopping dose of melancholy and you’ve got hauntology. The future that’s never going to happen. The past that maybe never was. I don’t know. I sit here listening and thinking maybe I should go back and take another stab at poetry or fiction. Or maybe take that memoir down off the shelf and put it together in one coherent, cohesive narrative. Thing is, who can remember how much of it really happened the way I remember, or if it happened at all. Is my entire history an imagined thing? I mean, the aches I wake up with lend enough proof that I’m here now and that would mean that there was some kind of past, right?

I don’t know if I remember what’s true anymore.

Sonic Youth is an echo from a time and a place. You really kind of had to be there, or it’s all just cool sounds. It was definitely more than cool sounds then. It was a soundtrack to an interactive experience. It was a grimy theme park. It was a land of perpetual night. It was New York City, or how I remember it. If, of course, my memory is accurate.I just don’t now anymore, except I know that I would like it to be true.

Thirty-four years is an awfully long time. Listening to this is almost jarring now. It sounds so new and so old at the same time. What would people think if it was released this week? Would they think it was a kind of coolish retro sound, or would it start a revolution. Nothing today sounds like Daydream Nation, but it didn’t really then either. It’s just so fucking good.

It’s just so… fucking… good!

Feeling a lot of things today. Feeling the lost pasts and the lost futures while clinging pretty feverishly too the present, which isn’t bad at all. I hope I am around to remember it ten years from now, or maybe twenty, and I’m hoping if and when I do that I remember it exactly how I experienced it and felt it today and yesterday. I especially want to remember the feelings, that everything is A-Oh-Fucking-Kay! Sure there are some things that could be better but right in these moments there is nothing lacking. Like standing on the corner of 8th and 60th yesterday with my sons, shooting the shit about everything and nothing. They are okay. They are doing okay. Things turned out okay for them. The world is a hot mess and we are still here shaking our heads in disbelief, but being grateful for the subversive act of laughter.

Things are okay. Probably better than in 1988, but I’m not sure if what I remember now, all these years later, is real. Or if it matters. Daydream Nation is still here. I’m still here.

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