13 for ’13: Yo La Tengo – Ohm

Part 2 of a 13 song recap of my 2013 in no particular order

Yo La Tengo are victims of their own consistency. They don’t seem to be making a mark on many people’s end of year lists despite the pretty great Fade easily being up there with the year’s best. Perhaps it’s January release meant it had left a few people’s minds by the time list season crept up. But I think it’s more that a consistently excellent Yo La Tengo album is not a surprise. It’s an easy thing to take for granted – ignore this one if you like, there’ll be another one almost certainly just as good in a year or two. Sure, Fade is not up there with their very best records, but it’s still a highlight of 2013 and deserves to be remembered as such. Ohm, the album’s opener, sets the bar so high the rest struggles to match it. A weary, droning lament of the unfairness of life it’s one of those first tracks that’s hard not to get stuck on repeat for a while before you get to the rest of the album. Perhaps that’s another factor in it’s omission from those best of lists – the whole record is mighty fine but it’s highlights are so good it’s easy to forget the rest of it. Whatever – this song was the first thing I heard from 2013 and it was a little while before anything else came close to it.

Also it has a delightful Yellow Submarine aping video in which one schoolgirl tries to define Yo La Tengo in a massive musical influence equation whilst a boy goes on a ride with a cigar chomping baby to the psychedelic cartoon factory where Yo La Tengo is made. It outlines how despite the almost academic approach to pop music and the almost industrial rate they churn it out they somehow retain a sparkle and charm that hasn’t diminished in their nearly 30 year run.


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