It's hard to take the alternative rock of the '90's seriously after listening to Sonic Youth. Out of the experimental, alternative/ art/ alternative rock between 1985 - 1990, Sonic Youth was the only one to come across with unpretentious and energetic. There's no need to listen to My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, or Pavement if you have "Evol," "Sister," and "Daydream Nation."
On "Daydream Nation," Sonic Youth began using more predictable rock that marked the beginning of their descent into typical '90's rock. Thurston Moore's voice became less animated at this point, which really took away from the overall energetic feeling they once had. Kim Gordon's voice had much more of an edge to it, but female vocals in rock just don't work as well as some males.
On the other hand, the feedback work on this album was the best they have ever done. Maybe that's because it's a relief to the rock they were using on the rest of the album. The normal rock they use on the album is really good, but its drug down by the vocals.
The worst song is the lightweight opener, "Teenage Riot." The next three are their most energetic, but then they fail to carry the momentum with "Eric's Trip," just because it's a bad song. The one song that makes this album worth owning is "Total Trash," which is probably the best Sonic Youth song. The way the song self-destructs is absolutely incredible.
Then comes "Hey Joni," which is where the album begins spiraling down. The only songs that save the rest of the album is "Providence" and "Trilogy: the Wonder."
Even though Sonic Youth were not the first to use feedback in their music, they were the best at it. Perhaps the strategic manner in which they use the feedback is what make their music so powerful. It would really be interesting to see a metal band use feedback and arrangements like Sonic Youth does. It would make sense to have self-destructing metal songs caused by the heaviness they can deliver.