Vinyl Vlog 636

Vinyl Vlog 636

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Tuesday, 06 February 2024
COLUMN

Yo La Tengo
This Stupid World

They say half the work is knowing. The other half is doing. Does that make sense? Does anyone say that? I don’t know, but it does apply to music in some way. Like my “love” of Jawbreaker. It’s a tainted love.  I own their entire catalog and played them relentlessly back in the day, yet I can only remember three songs (Want, Fine Day, and Boxcar). I completely forget entire albums of theirs until I put them on. These are the bands I “reckon” with, meaning, I can tell there’s something there but I can’t seem to break through the surface. This doesn’t mean I don’t like a band. Oh, no. What I’m trying to say is that is that I can tell it;s good music, and that it’s drawing me into its aura. I enjoy them a lot, but just nothing sticks, you know?  Those will always remain the elusive bands, who I know I should be able to recollect, but don’t, and will always feel bad about it. I will forever reckon with them. Jawbreaker is one.

Yo La Tengo is another.

I got into Yo La Tengo in my never-ending quest as a music lover to do homework: filling in gaps in my knowledge. The work is never done. References have to be understood and connections have to be made. I felt I couldn’t go on as a music lover without having some frame of reference to Yo La Tengo. That, and probably because I was listening too much to the Best Show. Those were the misguided days. But yeah, I got that one album. You know the one. It looks all red and blurry on the cover. Wait, let me check. It’s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Well, that cover doesn’t look at all as I remember it. Maybe it’s a different album? I don’t recognize these song titles. Anyway, this is probably the one. Because, when I heard this album once a week for 6 months, I remembered really liking it, but I can’t remember a thing about it now. So, why did I check out their newest album This Stupid World? Because I felt like I owed myself and the band, and maybe this time I can review an album of theirs while it’s still fresh in my memory.

The first thing that struck me about This Stupid World is how noisy and lo-fi it sounds. This is a rock band, but their drummer is comfortably buried in the mix. Whatever snare is audible is lethargic.  This, of course, is intentional, because we’re talking about seasoned veterans. Unquestionably, this album contains greatness, like Fallout and especially Brian Capers with its beautiful noise of guitar and organs. The rest is quiet acoustic ballads. Is it supposed to sound like Nico? I don’t know if that’s a good thing. What I can tell you is that this album sounds way too smart for me, so I’m willing to listen to it over and over again until I get. In the meantime, I’m going to simply enjoy it as part of my day.

This Stupid World comes in a gatefold and an extra instrumental bonus track on the D-side. Take that, CDs! It’s a gorgeous package with double LPs housed in full color sleeves. Again, too classy for me to get it, but I can acknowledge beauty when I see it.

This Stupid World is another album I’ll have to reckon with for the rest of my life. It goes way over my head but has great moments that I can surprisingly hold on to. Even if I wanted to get away it won’t let me.

photo: turntblelab.com

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