Yo La Tengo: I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One Yo La Tengo 
I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
[Matador; 1997]
Rating: 9.7
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The greatest band in the universe is back with their ninth studio release called I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. What a terrible title! I'm not sure why I hate it so much. Maybe it's because a surly guy like me can't wholly embrace anything without some kind of complaint.

Anyhow, this album is pretty goddamn blissful. I'll run down a few reasons why:

  • New directions! You have to love any band that's been together for over ten years and still take their sonic inventions to new levels. For the first time, Yo La Tengo tackles bossa nova pop ("Center of Gravity"); flirts with the electronic revolution (the first single, "Autumn Sweater," imitates a Can vs. Kraftwerk throwdown); and bassist James McNew takes over lead vocals for "Stockholm Syndrome."

  • Covers! It's no secret that Yo La Tengo love to do covers, but who would have thought we'd be getting a VU-ish take on the Beach Boys' "Little Honda"? Not I. There's also a cover of "My Little Corner of the World," done by two guys with the last names Hilliard and Pockriss. (A tip of the hat to Ryan Schreiber for not giving me a freakin' press kit.)

  • Excellent songs! Only an asshole couldn't love songs like the power-poppy "Sugarcube," the melted country tune "The Lie and How We Told It," the bleary-eyed ballad "Damage," and Georgia's wafting, haunted "Shadows."

  • Yo La Tengo is still the greatest band in the universe! Enough said.

  • -Jason Josephes, May 01, 1997

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