This sprawling, ambitious album is YO LA TENGO's 16th, and marks their 25th anniversary. It is also a new culmination for a career that has been swinging upwards again since 2006's I Am Not Afraid Of You. A new generation ... more »of fans is discovering one of the most influential and intriguing bands in late-20th and early 21st-century rock'n'roll.This is the definitive YO LA TENGO album and Matador's #1 priority this fall.« less
This sprawling, ambitious album is YO LA TENGO's 16th, and marks their 25th anniversary. It is also a new culmination for a career that has been swinging upwards again since 2006's I Am Not Afraid Of You. A new generation of fans is discovering one of the most influential and intriguing bands in late-20th and early 21st-century rock'n'roll.This is the definitive YO LA TENGO album and Matador's #1 priority this fall.
"I've been listening to YLT since 1995. Most of their albums fall into one of two categories: cohesive or eclectic.
Their great "cohesive" albums are Painful and Electr-o-pura. Fakebook and May I Sing With Me also deserve high honors. Many would add And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out to this category--for me, it's just medium strength--the first half is great while the second half loses focus. Summer Sun is the somewhat weaker entry in their cohesive collection.
Their great "eclectic" album is undoubtedly I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One while I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your [...] is too scatter shot. Their collection of b-sides and outtakes, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo, gets more love from me than I Am Not Afraid of You...
Which leads us to Popular Songs, which is a little from column A, a little from column B. Tracks 2-9 is a nice little cohesive run that any YLT fan would enjoy. The album is book-ended by more experimental tracks--"Here to Fall" features a string arrangement while the final three are variations on drone and noise. "More Stars Than There Are In Heaven" doesn't quite sound like anything they've done before. "The Fireside" fits in the "Green Arrow" and "Night Falls on Hoboken" genre. "And the Glitter is Gone" is familiar waves of Ira's guitar noise.
Popular Songs is probably their best album since And Then Nothing...While most of the bands strengths are represented here, the neat division between cohesive and eclectic can make it a lopsided listening experience.
These guys keep getting better and better
M. Fulkerson | Portland, Oregon | 09/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While people go on and on about the brilliance and creativity of bands like the Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo, somewhat quietly, keep pumping out incredible music. Unlike Flaming Lips, however, Yo La Tengo deliver their music humbly, and without pretentious arrogance about what influences them. They don't talk, they just rock. This new record is clearly inspired by 60's soul music with the groovy bass-lines and slightly cheesy orchestral maneuvers. What makes these guys so great, though, is their ability to effortlessly change gears from soul, to funk, to rock, to noise, to ballads, to whatever strikes their fancy. The cover is rather appropriate as the sounds remind you of an awesome mix tape someone with a great record collection just made. As always, they start the record out with a bunch of three minute rock, pop, and funk jams before going a bit classic-progressive on us with a few extended workouts that last more than 10 minutes. By the time the album is over you're already replaying it. This album has a handful of incredibly catchy tunes as is the staple of most of the Yo La Tengo catalog. If you're already a fan of Yo La Tengo you're going to be thrilled with this release. If you are uninitiated to the sounds of this great band, take the plunge. You will not be disappointed in the least!"
Unique and airy
Collegiate Action Mission | USA | 11/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a ride, such a admixture of unique sound approaches. If you want something that facinates and stimulates minor thrills in your soul, this collection is something extraordinary especially for a non-fan- "If it's True" brings it all together."
D. Hargis | Shreveport, LA USA | 02/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a nice starter album for Yo La Tengo listeners. It's a nice follow up to earlier albums."