Artist: Yo La Tengo
Songs: "The Cone of Silence", "Clunk", "Barnaby, Hardly Working", "Can't Forget", "Detouring America With Horns", "Big Day Coming", "Decora", "(Thin) Blue Line Swinger", "Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop", "Nutricia", "Return to Hot Chicken", Everyday", "Nuclear War Version 1", "Beach Party Tonight", "Shaker", "The River of Water", "Stay Away From Heaven", "Today Is The Day", "Tighten Up", "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind", "What'cha Gonna Do About It", "Here To Fall"
Albums: Ride The Tiger, New Wave Hot Dogs, President Yo La Tengo, Fakebook, May I Sing With Me, Painful, Electr-O-Pura, Camp Yo La Tengo, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo (Disc 1 & 2), I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, Nuclear War EP, Summer Sun, Prisoners of Love (Disc 1 & 2 & 3), Today Is The Day EP, Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics, I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, Fuckbook, Popular Songs
I love teaching math, but at the same time, grading exams is a total drag. I put up with it because it's a big part of what I enjoy, but I wish there was a way to just forgo the whole shebang and assess students based on something else. Like personal opinion. Or height. Just kidding. Sort of.
So last weekend, I had to grade a boatload of exams for the class I'm T.A.ing and I holed myself up in my office or the study room and banged 'em out. But I needed the perfect music for it. Typically, I opt for something on the instrumentalish side, so I can pay attention to the words and numbers and symbols I'm reading. In the past, I've had marathon sessions of Deerhunter, Sigur Ròs, and Sonic Youth, but this time I opted for Yo La Tengo. In the process, I realized that part and parcel of having a long list of stellar albums to their credit, the opening tracks on their albums tend to be outstanding examples of the mastery of their instruments and the variety of sounds they can produce with them. So I present to you, dear reader/listener, the opening tracks to every single Yo La Tengo album, ever, in chronological order. I did not listen to all of these during my grading session, so take my claim of stellarness with a metaphorical grain of salt. But still, thinking about the fact that all of these are from one band is mind-blowing.
"The Cone of Silence", from Ride The Tiger (1986)
"Clunk", from New Wave Hot Dogs (1987)
"Barnaby, Hardly Working", from President Yo La Tengo (1989)
"Can't Forget", from Fakebook (1990)
"Detouring America With Horns", from May I Sing With Me (1992)
"Big Day Coming", from Painful (1993)
"Decora", from Electr-O-Pura> (1995)
"(Thin) Blue Line Swinger", from Camp Yo La Tengo EP (1995)
"Evanescent Psychic Pez Drop", from Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo, Disc 1 (1996)
"Nutricia", from Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo, Disc 2 (1996)
"Return to Hot Chicken", from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997)
"Everyday", from And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (2000)
"Nuclear War Version 1", from Nuclear War EP (2002)
"Beach Party Tonight", from Summer Sun (2003)
"Shaker", from Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs: 1985–2003, Disc 1 (2003)
"The River of Water", from Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs: 1985–2003, Disc 2 (2003)
"Stay Away From Heaven", from Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Outtakes and Rarities 1986–2002 (2003)
"Today Is The Day", from Today Is The Day EP (2003)
"Tighten Up" [Archie Bell and the Drells cover], from Yo La Tengo Is Murdering The Classics (2006)
"Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind", from I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (2006)
"What'cha Gonna Do About It" [Small Faces cover], from Fuckbook (2007) [released under the name Condo Fucks]
"Here To Fall", from Popular Songs (2009)
Note: I skipped over a couple of film score albums/compilations, a handful of EPs, and a bunch of singles. Sorry. That's partly because I don't have those files and don't feel like seeking them out on the interwebz, and partly because this list was already enough of a labor of love to compile/produce. I love this band, don't forget that, but goddamnit they're prolific!
[If you have mp3s of the missing tracks and want to send them to me so I can YouTube-ify them and make this list satisfy all completists then, by all means, let me know! Also, if there's a broken/misdirected link, let me know; I'm bound to have screwed something up.]