By Jason Boucher
It seems like I’ve been waiting forever to get my hands on this new Yo La Tengo album and it was finally released last week. Their 17th studio album did not disappoint. Full of beautiful distortion and melodies, ‘This Stupid World’ was worth the wait.
The album begins with a 7-minute track called ‘Sinatra Drive Breakdown’ that wastes no time getting into a nice groove and fuzzy distorted guitar from the one and only Ira Kaplan, who pops in to lead the vocals at about 01:20 in front of a steady beat with harmonies from drummer Georgia Humbly and bassist James McNew. It’s one of the best tracks on the album, but wait there’s more!
‘Fallout’ is classic Yo La Tengo and just makes you reminisce about all the sweet, guitar driven, indie pop songs they’ve shared with us over the years. Skip ahead to the acoustic-based ‘Aselestine’ sung by the lovely Georgia Hubley with an Americana feel that includes slide guitar and a French horn — such a beautiful sound.
There are nine tracks to listen to, ten if you have the vinyl, which includes a bonus instrumental track. Also, for those with the vinyl, have you discovered the lock groove after ‘Brain Capers’ ? The track length listed on the record itself is marked as ∞. The vinyl comes in limited blue or the standard black version, but either way it’s still a double LP. One of the stand-out tracks for me is the title-track called ‘This Stupid World’ full of feedback, distortion, and beauty that lies in its lyrics.
“This stupid world
It’s killing me
This stupid world
Is all we have.”
Rounding out the album is Miles AWay, a 7-minute piece with subtle lyrics sung by Georgia along with steady reverb percussion and guitar. It’s a mesmerizing track and great way to end the new record.
It’s hard to believe that they’ve been a band for almost 40 years and with the same line-up since 1992. Yo La Tengo is on tour now but sadly they’re not performing anywhere in the Northeast. What a bummer.