Artist: Yo La Tengo
Ikaika: There’s something to be said about the sound of the new Yo La Tengo album, Fade. All I can say is that it rocks. Sure, they sound like any other indie rock group out there that found places in the soundtracks of movies like “50/50” or “Humboldt County,” but I’m perfectly okay with this, and you should be too.
It’s difficult to find albums that could be called a “soundtrack to life”, but I would definitely nominate Fade as at least a candidate. The soft, sweet music accompanied by the voice of Ira Kaplan gives off a mellow, yet emotional feel that will make even the least emotional people crack a tear.
The lyrical content is impressively mature, staying away from mainstream themes of whiny heartache, red Solo cups, and sexy sex, as well as being incredibly poetic and picturesque in a way that perhaps helps the listener make up their own story formed around the words.
To me, this album feels dark, and I love dark. I hated nothing about this album besides the fact that, like I said before, they tend to sound like everyone else in the indie music game these days. It clearly works as the band has a huge fan base, and bands similar to Yo La Tengo are welcomed into the music industry daily. Recommended songs from Fade are ‘Is That Enough’, which to me sounds a lot like Belle and Sebastian, ‘Stupid Things’ and ‘I’ll Be Around’. 4 out of 5 stars – My new soundtrack to life.
Rory: Many may not realize that Yo La Tengo has been around making music since 1986, but they have. As the group has grown in age, so has their musical creativity. Gone are the sounds of ‘80s “mix-tape” style songs the band used to write and perform and here is a tight set of songs that flow into something more meaningful, something the audience can become a part of through listening.
The songs don’t necessarily follow any one particular style throughout the CD, but why would anyone want to listen then? Isn’t that why Boston fell out of favor with fans, because every song sounded like every other song? Yo La Tengo certainly does not have that problem on Fade. The opening track, “Ohm” does not sound like “Is That Enough” which doesn’t sound like Stupid Things”, etc. The songs play well together, but don’t always give the impression that the same band is always playing them.
“Stupid Things” is probably the centerpiece of the CD, both from placement and musically. It may be one of the strongest pieces the band has ever released, but each song is interesting in its own way.
Similar sounding bands are a dime a dozen, but Yo La Tengo has earned their strong fan base by putting forth strong musicianship, good vocals, and solid writing for almost 3 decades. Any challengers in the indie music scene better get set for a long fight if they want to take over for this band.
3 out of 5 stars – It probably won’t land in my collection, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.