Saturday, May 23, 2015

Song of the day

"Shaker", by Yo La Tengo.

It seems wrong, if not against my religion, to pay for music more than once. Not that I have never done it. (And I've never felt unclean afterwards.) The two Brian Eno box sets, "Instrumental" and "Vocal", contained many songs I already owned on vinyl. I shelled out for the CD editions of "Marquee Moon", "Adventure", "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts", "Fear Of Music" and "Remain In Light" because, well, I had to. Heck, I have even bought "Loveless" on CD twice (the first time cost me one dollar, and the second, the two-disc remaster, only cost me ten).

But "Extra Painful", by Yo La Tengo, is sorely tempting me. A remaster of the original album (a lot of early nineties records could benefit from one of those). A second disc of bonus material. A download code for, like, twice as much bonus material again. You kind of just know, with Yo La Tengo, that any drop-off in quality is going to be barely perceptible to the human ear.

"Painful" was not my first exposure to Yo La Tengo. I bought "New Wave Hot Dogs" when it came out, possibly only because of the name, but in any event I have never had cause to regret it. But "Painful", when (not coincidentally) Ira and Georgia first joined permanent forces with James McNew, was the point where the sum became more than the many (already impressive) parts. "Painful" is close to a perfect album, although it turns out to have been only the first of many.

Plus, "Extra Painful" contains "Shaker", a song that didn't appear on the album and would have done no damage to the album's overall quality if it had. That's how strong they were then. (It's also how strong they are now, for what it's worth.) Any similarity to "I Wanna Be Your Dog" only makes it that much better.