Ask a bunch of music nerds what their favourite Sonic Youth album is and it's pretty much guaranteed that Daydream Nation will come out on top. Albumism did just that, and the band's 1988 magnum opus polled a whopping 26 per cent of the votes.
Personally, my vote would have gone to Dirty (1992), which placed fifth. As the first Sonic Youth album I heard, it was my gateway drug to their world, and it's accessible in a way that perhaps none of their other LPs are, yet never really sounds like a band compromising their vision. Plus it features some of their finest songs: 'Drunken Butterfly', 'Sugar Kane', '100%' and 'Theresa's Sound World'.
Don't get me wrong, though: Daydream Nation is an awesome LP, probably the most prominent landmark in their career and an incredible experience live - but it didn't have the same impact on me as Dirty did, and I do struggle with the recording quality.
Elsewhere in the rankings I was surprised to see 2006's Rather Ripped (#7) rated so highly. That and A Thousand Leaves (1998), while undoubtedly not without their merits, wouldn't have made my top ten, whereas 2004's Sonic Nurse and The Eternal, which turned out to be their swansong, certainly would.
If the LP that topped the pile didn't surprise me, neither did the one that attracted the fewest votes. I'd agree that NYC Ghosts & Flowers (2000) is the hardest album to love. It's all relative, though.