Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There [Matador, 2015]
Right, it's been a quarter of a century, but how they've changed since Fakebook. There's the bassist around whom Georgia and Ira cohered. There's Georgia's increasingly confident calm meshing with Ira's increasingly thoughtful quiet. There's the fragile, enduring lyricism that's been their musical heart since "Autumn Sweater," and the uneasy, enduring domesticity that goes with it. Ira took the lead on Fakebook's covers, which tended toward a perky cheek now gone. But amazing as ever on this second covers album is his ear for the obscure ditty. The heartbreakingly cute Darlene McCrea opener "My Heart's Not in It." The existentially anxious Great Plains midpoint"Before We Stopped to Think." The Lovin' Spoonful filler "Butchie's Tune." Sun Ra's chart-ready "Somebody's in Love." Hell, the Cure hit "Friday I'm in Love." They also cover themselves and birth a few new ones. But what makes this their loveliest album ever is Ira's ditties combined with Georgia's confident calm. Her "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" isn't Hank's, or Al's either. But in its own way it's just as good, bereft with only the barest show of emotion--she doesn't ever really raise or even intensify her voice. You're forced to wonder, and worry--what's she got to be bereft about, anyway? A