Yo La Tengo

Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 (Matador)

Reissues

Yo La Tengo

Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 (Matador)

"Time goes by. I know it's gonna happen; I know it's goin' away," ("Tom Courtenay"). Yo La Tengo is a band of continuation and transfer. The Hoboken, N.J., trio makes music for first kisses, last sights, hellos, and goodbyes. Prisoners of Love could be your high school diary. More a growth chart than a greatest hits, Prisoners mixes album cuts and years haphazardly on this seamless 3-CD compilation, a perfect move for a band made more of whims than directives. Disc one is career highlights for the lovelorn and tortured poets: "Stockholm Syndrome," "Our Way to Fall," "From a Motel 6." Disc two encompasses the moodier tracks, the breakup songs ("Autumn Sweater," "Tears Are in Your Eyes"), and the scorned soundtracks ("Pablo and Andrea," "The Story of Jazz"). The real treat is the third disc, A Smattering of Outtakes and Rarities 1986-2002, comprising previously unreleased tracks as well as live recordings from Morning Becomes Eclectic and launch parties. With a lulling, acoustic version of "Tom Courtenay," a gnarly cover of Stevie Nicks' "Dreams," and handwritten liner notes describing each song, Outtakes encapsulates YLT's humor, humanity, and relationship to their fans. As is oft repeated throughout this collection, the passage of time is only noticed in retrospect, but Yo La Tengo was always there.

***.5

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