For an album that is as abstract as A Thousand Leaves, it manages to have a "hit" on the record. I noticed a trend with Sonic Youth: stay true to your art while making the powers that be happy with it. It seems that every album that SY has put out on Geffen contains a possible radio single. In my experience in the record industry, as long as they have something to sell (wether they want to sell it or not) they are happy. SY seems to always deliver a single that we will never hear on the radio but it exists to make the suits happy. This is why Sonic Youth managed to release all 9 of their contractual obligated record with Geffen. This is also the reason why Geffen built the band Echo Canyon, a studio for them to spend endless hours of recording and keep the studio bills to a minimum. No matter how commercial Sonic Youth can be, they always manage to do it in a very punk rock/avant garde way. This is why "Sunday" is one of my favorite songs.
"Sunday" doesn't seem to fit amongst its brothers and sisters from the same album. Yet, A Thousand Leaves would be naked without it. After the dirg intro "Contre Le Sexism," the album takes a dramatic turn. Mood-wise, "Sunday" is the perfect transition from one track to the other, but arrangement and sonically speaking, "Sunday" takes the album into another direction. I've always felt the band was saying "psyche!"
"Sunday" is a song that is centered around a riff. There is an intro riff and then a main riff. We don't hear the intro again in the song but it prepares you
This song first appeared on the soundtrack for the film Suburbia in 1997. This version is slightly different. It contains a much longer intro, a longer middle jam, and a spacey outro. Obviously, the song was shortened for the album but the radio single was cut even more. I've never heard it, but I heard the edits were terrible. I often wonder if this song was intended for the Suburbia movie and not an album release. Like I stated above, its the one song that doesn't seem to fit. Plus, it was recorded at a different time from the bulk of A Thousand Leaves but I could be wrong about that. The soundtrack version of the song sounds more like the rest of the LP. Even though it contains the same parts, the edit for the record was more than likely intended for the use of a single. It would not surprise me if Geffen requested the song to use a lead single for the album.
"Sunday" was debuted in 1997 as an instrumental. The song was played regularly at shows from 1998-99. It managed to survive with "Hoarfrost" on the 2000 tour but rarely gets played now.