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Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs

CD Review of Yo La Tengo's album Popular Songs.

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No, it's not a covers record. Nor is it a greatest hits collection. In fact, you may not know Yo La Tengo yet. Well, here's the quick rundown. The Hoboken trio has been twisting the alt-rock genre since 1984 and are heralded by critics and underground rock fans for their ability to create often catchy yet strangely unpredictable songs.

Popular Songs, their 14th studio album, is a fine representation of the group's skill in penning songs with incredible depth. "Here to Fall" opens the record as a perfect example of said depth. From quiet beginnings, the song builds a complex layer of dreamscape melody packed with a bunch of interesting instrumentation. By contrast, the super-catchy "Nothing to Hide" is one of those tracks that in my ideal world would be played all over mainstream radio. "When It's Dark" is a wonderfully easygoing acoustic-based tune that a Wilco fan might dig. Completing their overtly dynamic range is "If It's True" which uses Hammond organ as a backbone and clean string section to deliver a tight thoughtful pop song.

Other tracks range from the slightly British to the delightfully funky to dark wandering ethereal rock. With that in mind, Popular Songs definitely has something for everyone.

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