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May I Sing with Me
Yo La Tengo
May I Sing with Me
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

May I Sing with Me is the oft-overlooked pivotal album in the Yo La Tengo discography: the first to be made with the lineup of husband-and-wife team Ira Kaplan (guitar, vocals) and Georgia Hubley (drums) with bassist James...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Yo La Tengo
Title: May I Sing with Me
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Alias Records
Original Release Date: 2/21/1992
Re-Release Date: 2/28/1992
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Styles: Indie & Lo-Fi, American Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 093716002123, 093716002116, 093716002413, 093716002444, 803680154953, 766483190743

Synopsis essential recording
May I Sing with Me is the oft-overlooked pivotal album in the Yo La Tengo discography: the first to be made with the lineup of husband-and-wife team Ira Kaplan (guitar, vocals) and Georgia Hubley (drums) with bassist James McNew; the first on which Kaplan emerges as a first-class guitarist; the first on which the band's interest in drone-pop combines with its rootsy-folky base; and the first on which they record a song over nine minutes long (two of 'em, in fact, and it's not a bad thing). The next three albums--Painful, Electr-o-pura, and I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One--all go further into sonic experimentation, with increasingly rewarding results, but on May I it's the dichotomy of raw power and mellow travelogues that infuses the songs. On "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss," Kaplan screams as his guitar wails like nothing this side of the MC5, but "Satellite" finds his guitar caressing Hubley's vocals. "Some Kinda Fatigue" marries the Velvet Underground to Jason & the Scorchers, while "Always Something" drops the latter. --Randy Silver

CD Reviews

A completely untypical YLT album, but one I dearly love
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"OK, I'm going to have to defend this album. This is widely considered to be one of Yo La Tengo's weakest albums, and is unquestionably one of their least popular. I have always been perplexed by this take on it. Perhaps my liking for the album stems from the fact that the first time I saw them live (I've seen them about 15 times since) was immediately before this album was released, so that the songs on this album comprised most of the set that they were performing. Since then I have seen them perform fewer and fewer songs off the album, with the exception of "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss," which is a near staple of every performance (and who can forget all three members of the band shoving guitars or basses against amplifiers, creating the greatest amount of feedback and distortion recorded in human history?).But I think part of my liking for this album stems from the fact that I am more into pure garage rock rather than electronic experimentation. I have to confess a preference for driving drums, a solid bass line, and a withering guitar to a gentle synthesizer that is tape looped that characterizes so much of the rest of the Yo La Tengo catalogue (though I like that as well, and in fact own over a dozen YLT albums--it is not "either/or" for me, more "both/and" though I prefer the grittier, rarer garage side of YLT). I love YLT wild and out of control. I love Ira Kaplan's guitar work (I use "work" advisedly, because it isn't so clear that he can play the guitar as that he is a master at manipulating it--listen to his guitar on "Mushroom Cloud of Hiss" and tell me that you would describe that as "playing" the guitar). I love many, many Yo La Tengo albums, but this is the only one that gets my adrenaline going.I like nearly song on this album. "Some Kinda Fatigue" is one of my all time favorite YLT songs and actually one of my all time favorite hard rock songs period. I love the thick layering of sound, all so dense that it doesn't seem possible that it is a mere trio. I also love the weird guitar line that drives "Out the Window." "Five-Cornered Hat" actually sounds more like something their buddies in Chicago's Eleventh Dream Day would play. (For those outside New York and Chicago, or perhaps not even in New York, there is a pretty solid connection between Yo La Tengo and Eleventh Dream Day. I have seen them perform together on several occasions. On more than a couple of occasions Ira Kaplan has joined Eleventh Dream Day to provide a second lead guitar to Rick Rizzo. And on several occasions when I have seen Yo La Tengo in Chicago, I have seen either Rick Rizzo or Janet Bean jump on stage to guest for a song or two, perhaps most memorably at the Metro in Chicago a couple of years ago when Rick Rizzo joined them for a number, and his ex-wife and ongoing bandmate Janet Bean jumped up on stage and undid his pants during a blistering guitar solo--for the ladies in the audience, Rick wears boxers.) And there are several lighter songs as well, like "Always Something" and "Satellite." The only song that really disappoints me is the long, dull "Sleeping Pill." It is possible that this is an album that some fans of harder alternative rock might like more than the rest of the Yo La Tengo albums. Myself, I like them all, but although not at all fashionable, I will nonetheless confess that this remains my favorite YLT album, and the one that I have played the most over the past decade or so."
wizard72 | 03/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Behind Fakebook, this ranks as my second favorite Yo La Tengo recording. Ira Kaplan's guitar work is his best ever highlighted by "Five Cornered Drone" and "Some Kinda Fatigue". This one defintely has overtones of another of my all time favorites - the criminally underrated feelies. I would recommend this over "Painful" although it is not as critically acclaimed."
Once in a blue moon...
wizard72 | 04/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"you'll hear an album that puts to shame 99.9% of the so-called "alternative" music you hear on the radio. This CD is a high water mark of 1990's rock . The gentle opening track is but a prelude to feedback laden rave-ups, mellow soundscapes and good old loud rock and roll, with an intensity that will make this music stick in your head for a long, long time. Ira Kaplan has got to be the best guitarist on this planet that no one has ever heard of. I've been telling friends since this album came out that these days, Yo La Tengo is the only band that matters. Start with this record, then get all the rest of them. GET ON THIS BUS!"