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I came to Yo La Tengo late. Rob Sheffield’s lead review in Rolling Stone did the persuading. The Blue Mask? I’m there (his Lovesexy analogy crumbles though). Confident enough in its smarts to use declarative sentences, employing guitars and vibes and synths to shape sounds commensurate with the relationship it’s celebrating, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out was a good first album but a taxing one. I got I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One on the defunct Columbia House’s website; it soundtracked a summer of county wide commuting to my first journalism internship. One Saturday afternoon I got too stoned listening to “”Spec Bebop.” Summer Sun I embraced without a worry three years later: eleven miniatures, capped by a hushed version of “Take Care.” I may overrate the album because that tour was spectacular: two men and a woman switching instruments and no loss of momentum or joy in the other’s company. We liked the band enough to drive to Jacksonville in 2003, a not inconsiderable concession especially if you know the world’s dullest city. The tour for I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, which made a stop in February 2007 at the long gone Studio A, also charmed the hell out of me; the album itself was a take it or leave it deal.

Take or leave my opinion. If being a fan means the demonstration of passion and the willingness to forgive mistakes or mere competence, then I’m not one. But I love these songs.

1. Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)
2. You Can Have It All
3. Little Eyes
4. Stockholm Syndrome
5. Cherry Chaptstick
6. Autumn Sweater
7. Hanky Panky Nohow
8. (Straight Down to the) Bitter End
9. Moby Octopad
10. Sugarcube
11. Season of the Shark
12. Little Honda
13. Ohm
14. The Room Got Heavy
15. Big Day Coming
16. I Should’ve Known Better
17. Deeper Into Movies
18. Madeline
19. From a Motel 6
20. Our Way to Fall
21. A Worrying Thing
22. Blue Line Swinger
23. Pablo and Andrea
24. Somebody’s Baby
25. Drug Test

ALBUMS

1. I Can Hear The Heart Beating as One
2. And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
3. Electr-O-Pura
4. Summer Sun
5. Painful