Monday, August 8, 2011
When you consume music like a voracious gourmand in an audio smorgasbord as I do, occasionally the rekkids you love can get lost in the shuffle and you temporarily forget how much you love them. When Yo La Tengo's ...And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out came out in 2000 I was blown away by it's intimacy and swiftly proclaimed it a masterpiece. A decade, several Yo La Tengo rekkids, and several hundred other rekkids later, I found that it had fallen off of my radar. This morning something drew me to the "Y" section of the collection and I snapped it up almost randomly to throw in the player at work. It soon hit me what a truly magnificent and delicate masterpiece it really is.
For those of you who don't know, the rekkid is almost a concept piece. The concept being the love between Yo La Tengo's songwriting team of Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan, who happen to be about the cutest married couple in all of indie rock. Essentially, over the course of its 13 songs, the album tells you the story of their love with unabashed self-awareness. Lyrically, it plays out like a series of love letters. So much so that it's surprising that bassist/multi-instrumantalist James McNew doesn't feel like an interloper. Songs like "Last Days of Disco" are like shimmering fragile little jewels teetering on the brink of embarrassing self-consciousness without ever quite going over the edge. The cover of "You Can Have It All" (see and hear above) is one of the most charming milestones in the whole of indie rock history.
If you've never heard ...And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out I highly recommend it. If you know it and haven't listened to it in a while, I recommend revisiting. You will be rewarded. It is notably lean on the big noise and Ira guitar freakouts that can be found on other fine Yo La Tengo rekkids, but I find it's mellow languor to be a thing of great beauty. The moral of this story is that great art does not have a shelf-life and there is great music from every era. Embrace the new but always remember to play the old favorites from time to time.