Yo La Tengo's debut CD, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass: The Florence Nightingale Story is filled with the cranky meanderings of today's new nu rock. Forged in hubris and leather, this New Jersey (and Brooklyn!?) trio consisting of the fat guy and two Jews are quite capable of taking us on one wild and wacky ride through the debauched underworld of the "Indiers." I have not listened to the CD, nor will I, but I nonetheless review it based on the track titles alone.
Track 1: "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind"
This track starts off kinda slow but then ramps into even more slowness resulting is some serious slowitude. With guest artist Keb 'Mo 'adding his trademark "hmmms," this song really sums up the lonely life of the Crabman. Warning — this is not for the easily nauseous.
Track 2: "Beanbag Chair"
This whimsical look at That '70s Show takes up where Ashton, Topher and the rest of the gang left off. With a sly nod to the rampant on-set use of cocaine by the actors, this song really captures the feelings and confusion of today's stupid youth.
Track 3: "I Feel Like Going Home"
This is a whirling dervish of aural bumbles and spills. Starting with a train whistle and ending with the sounds of a real cockfight, this hodgepodge of hodgepodgery reminds me of the good part of a penis.
Tracks 4 through 7 are being recalled by the label.
Track 8: "Sometimes I Don't Get You"
Reminiscent of a denuded Emerson, Lake & Palmer (circa Tarkus), but with more angst, this song comes on like a freight train. Although that freight train has been rusting in an abandoned rail yard outside of Dayton, which gives it a classical, if not completely Gary-Numan-meets-the-Chieftains feel.
Track 9: "Daphnia"
Ughhh, what the fuck kind of name is "Daphnia"? Is that the name of some Evanescence fan from Winnipeg? I don't like this song, I imagine.
Track 10: "I Should Have Known Better"
Now this is more like it. When I first heard it I nearly shit myself. (I was able to make it over to the window in time and get my ass out and shit on someone else.) I mean, TWELVE guitars?! Woah! This makes "Tusk" sound like "Pink Moon" minus the hard part! Way to go, guys!
Track 11: "Watch Out for Me, Ronnie"
This song is pretty cool in a non-cool way. It's about the time that legendary country star Ronnie Milsap* bumped into Georgia backstage at the first Bonnaroo Festival and accidentally spilled her hot cider with cinnamon and a little whipped cream on top.
Track 12: "The Weakest Part"
Half Japanese, and half Half Japanese, this song takes the best of both worlds, throws them in a blender operated by Brian Eno (and underwritten by a generous grant from Dow Chemical) and churns out a lovely cocktail of sonic blasts and gurgles. If you like seeing the Chippendale Dancers, you'll love this.
Track 13: "Song for Mahila"
Jesus, how many songs are on this goddamn thing? There shouldn't be more than 12. I find this very rude.
Track 14: "Point and Shoot"
Oh, come on. Honestly. This is too many songs. I don't have the iPod space for all this. This is going to be cutting into my watching-Lost time.
Track 15: "The Story of Yo La Tango"
Fuck you, guys. I'm serious. Enough's enough.
*He's blind, asshole!
Editor's Note: For a review of I Am Not Afraid of You… written by someone who has actually heard the record, see Douglas Wolk's excellent column.