“Teenage Riot” – Sonic Youth


The first and best-known track of 1988’s “Daydream Nation,” this not only brings back memories of my first year in college, but also, more importantly, my second year in grad school. Why was this song … and this album … so important to me in 1995-1996? Because it was my only line of defense against my next door neighbor …

My next door neighbor was a meek looking guy … resembling Garth from “Wayne’s World,” but with a Kurt Cobain haircut. Somehow this geekazoid managed to snare a hot goth girlfriend. Yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but they did exist on occasion back in the day. Anyway, Garth and his girlfriend used to have loud relations at all hours of the night. This wasn’t the standard moans and groans and occasional loud “Oh my God!” This was full-on Ted Bundy-and-young-female-hitchhiker type shenanigans. This young woman’s screams were blood curdling. And because I lived in a wood-panelled apartment that cost me $210 a month, let’s just say it got a little loud when I was trying to sleep.

So I would have to venture into my living room and sleep on a sofa that Goodwill later rejected when I moved out. I had to crank this very drony album by Sonic Youth at a volume just loud enough to drown out the nonsense two rooms removed, but not loud enough to annoy my other neighbors.  This album and My Bloody Valentine’s equally drony shoe-gazing masterpiece “Loveless” worked well enough to drown out the serial killer fantasies of the lovers next door and saved my sanity that year.