Take a listen to my favorite Yo La Tengo song, ‘Blue Line Swinger’

Yo La Tengo

I bought my first Yo La Tengo album some time in the late 90s, it’s hard to say when. It was their 1995 album Electro-O-Pura, which along with Modest Mouse’s This Is A Long Drive For Someone With No One To Think About, shifted my musical interests forever. Electr-O-Pura is extremely different from their other albums in my mind, mainly because it’s got a darker, more experimental sound to it. I’ve seen people comparing the album to the efforts of Sonic Youth, which isn’t too far off. But it’s the album’s ending that’s really the crown jewel of all the tracks, called Blue Line Swinger.

The song is a slow burn which ends in a huge raucous of drums and guitars. When I say it’s a slow burn, I mean reallllllly slow. The drums repeat themselves endlessly, slowly gathering more and more complexity as they go on. The guitar begins to expand, taking on new chords at the same pace as the drums. Finally around 3:40 something that sounds like a song finally emerges, almost like it’s being birthed from the sound. It’s a complex and driving song, the drums powering the track… and then at 4:25 Georgia’s stunning vocals break through it all, like a siren over the sound of the crashing waves.

I swear to you I get teary eyed when I hear this song. There’s something about this track that hits me in just the right spot. In my mind it has all the right elements, like the right ingredients for a perfect meal. It’s both straightforward, like in Georgia’s drums and vocals, but then you’ve got the ripping chaos of a guitar and the subtle bass line marrying it all together.

I don’t often wax poetic about songs, but I can undoubtedly say this is one of my very favorite songs. I would bring this song on a desert island with me, and I think it’d be a pretty fantastic song to die to in a film. I hope you take the time to listen to the song and appreciate it as I do.

Bobby Solomon

February 27, 2012 / By

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