LYRIC OF THE WEEK: Sonic Youth, “Teenage Riot”

Whether you consider it the apex of the late '80s alternative music scene of the forefather of the grunge revolution that would sweep the music world in the '90s, or both, it’s safe to say that few albums have been as impactful as Sonic Youth’s 1988 disc Daydream Nation without ever threatening the mainstream. The closest the album came to commercial success was its opening track and lead single “Teenage Riot.” Part of the reason for the song’s acceptance at the time on modern rock radio was its capitulation to traditional rock song structure. Once you get past the non-sequitur intro music featuring Kim Gordon’s cryptic chants, “Teenage Riot” settles into a frenzied guitar workout for Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo while Gordon on bass and Steve Shelley on drums keep the rhythmic hammer down. Even at the rapid tempo, Moore imbues the song with enough melody to keep things catchy. In the liner notes to the deluxe edition of Daydream Nation, Moore was quoted as saying the lyrics were inspired by another alt-rock standout. “It was actually about appointing J Mascis as our de facto alternative dream president,” he said, referring to the frontman  of Dinosaur Jr. 1988 was…

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