Friday, October 06, 2006

I am not afraid of this review...

Instead of ranting about how teenage behavior is explained by the Periodic Table of the Elements (which, in fact, is true) I'll try to review Yo La Tengo's new record today. Emphasis on the word try.

If you want me to be honest, the last decent record the Jersey threesome has put out was the precision-focused Electr-O-Pura. Unlike the sloppy, confused experiments that followed in the form of I can Hear the Heart Beating as One and And Nothing Turned itself Inside-Out (I've not heard Summer Sun or any of the other EPs/side projects put out during that time), this record's drony ambient pop soundscapes were not only consistent, but well-written.

That statement will now change with I am not Afraid of You and I will Beat your Ass, a record of such high creativity that its music will indeed beat your ass and leave you without breath.

I have always hated records that tried to explore every existing musical genre - with the exclusion of the Clash's Sandinista!. Most genre-breaking records are far too ambitious and cover too much territory to be solid efforts. Although YLT's new record falls within those criteria, it is filled with great songwriting and enough drony guitar jams to satisfy anyone who prefers the older YLT.

The record falls into a slump with a clump of overly sentimental ballads towards the beginning and an overlong ambient soundscape in the middle. However, with those exceptions, Yo La Tengo's new record is a step in the right direction and worth your purchase.

My rating: 8.7/10

Briefly, an explanation of the rating scale I plan to use if I ever review more records:

9.0-10.0: A religious experience
8.0-8.9: Solid, great record
6.0-7.9: Worth checking out
4.0-5.9: Unoriginal, poorly-executed, lack of focus, mediocrity...
0.0-3.9: You should be embarrassed to own this record.

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