Originally Posted by demonrail666
I'm not sure SY were ever my favourite band, but they were probably the most vital in introducing me to other ones. They also seemed the most multi-faceted of those bands: less limited purely to music (largely through Kim) than those which, on purely musical terms, I preferred.
They were and are my favorite band, but I definitely agree about the freedom and lack of limitation to their sound being a huge selling point. I may prefer, say, "Good Morning Captain" to anything SY did in the '90s, but while Slint was a bit boxed in musically and stylistically, SY could do anything. Noise jams, acoustic ballads, post-punk dirges and epic rock songs. They could do soft or loud or pretty or ugly or hardcore-fast or jam band-chill, and ALL of it came out sounding like something utterly singular and unique.
I used to get a little hung up because I liked the energetic, power chord punk of Hüsker Dü, but I also liked the borderline-metal slog of Dinosaur Jr. and the whipping smack of the Pixies. I'd be frustrated because I didn't know which I liked more, and I resented having to always decide. With Sonic Youth, you didn't have to decide.
And by saying you love Sonic Youth, you're getting multiple messages across. You're saying so much... all at once (unless the person you're talking to has never heard Sonic Youth, in which case you're basically saying nothing). For a while I'd answe that frustrating, "What kind of music are you into?" question simply by saying, "Well, my favorite band of all time is Sonic Youth, if that tells you anything." It worked.