Sonic Youth Exegesis 1: "Hey Joni"

I started doing this on twitter where periodically I would take a line from a Sonic Youth tune and expound upon it. The idea just came out of me being goofy and bored while listening to Daydream Nation one night. I just wanted to make the lyrics sound conversational, but in a really erudite and literate way, as if someone that was very proper, or perhaps went to a finishing school, would say them. I called these tweets by The Proper Sonic Youths. Some people started to enjoy it and I decided last night that I was going to extrapolate this idea on my blog by “translating” entire songs in this manner.

Specifically what I try to do when coming up with these is to follow the lyrics, line by line, using as many different words for the specifics in each line, but still holding the same meaning. Basically I’m taking the poetry and flow out of it and making it as dry as possible, like Thurston, Lee and Kim have been rendered hypnotized by a thesaurus. You’ll get it, just follow along if you know the song, which I have posted at the bottom.

exegesis | eksi jesis|
noun ( pl. -ses |-sez|)
critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture

Today’s exegesis comes from “Daydream Nation”. I pictured the lyrics of this track as if Lee were writing a letter to Joni (which is Joni Mitchell, if you didn’t know already). So I actually wrote down his letter. In case you can’t read my ( I mean….Lee’s…) handwriting, the text is copied below.

Dear Joni,

I would like to encourage you to place everything that has happened into the past. If you would do me this kindness I will offer to do the same. What is going on in your life right now is really quite confusing for you, I’m sure. Again, I would encourage you to just forget about all of those things that happened and just try to stay positive.

Be honest with me, Joni. I mean, we are in this together if you want me to help you out then I will. Perhaps it’s a result of living in this town, a change of location might help to guide your life in the proper direction. I’m remembering when we were younger, with our lofty ambitions, but you were unwilling to break the mold, until the one day we sat talking in the forest and I think that is where you finally had a breakthrough. We really bonded then, and I don’t think there’s any going back after what we said to each other.

Don’t you think I’m trustworthy anymore? Am I not a good person? How do you plan on turning your life around without me? When are you going to make good on all the promises that you’ve made to yourself?…Just assure me you won’t do anything you or I will later regret.

I dreamt the other night that you were standing in the middle of a large field, tall grass all around you, with gunfire in the distance. You were the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen, lighting up the sky in your brilliance. You weren’t concerned with anything but the precise moment you were in, right then and there. You were hoping to hold on to that moment forever.

Please, just put it all in the past. I’m serious about this and it’s all I can think about and you know I’m right! Just forget it, and I’ll forget it. Forget what “could” happen, everything is just a disaster right now. Don’t think about what did happen, and move forward with a positive attitude.

The years fly by, just place them behind you. Live in the present from now on.


Lee – of The Proper Sonic Youths

[audio:|titles=Hey Joni]