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

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Yo La Tengo is the quintessential indie-rock band. Certainly measured by longevity and overall consistency, no one else comes close, as Prisoners of Love amply proves over the course of two generous discs. Subtitled A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003, Prisoners moves seamlessly from the jangly 1985 single "The River of Water" to 1997's signature tune "Autumn Sweater" to the rolling feedback of 1993's "Big Day Coming." Mixing album tracks and singles from throughout the Hoboken band's career, Prisoners includes plenty of pure pop like "Tom Courtenay" and "Sugarcube," sweet meditations like "The Summer" and "Season of the Shark," and distorted ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Yo La Tengo is the quintessential indie-rock band. Certainly measured by longevity and overall consistency, no one else comes close, as Prisoners of Love amply proves over the course of two generous discs. Subtitled A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003, Prisoners moves seamlessly from the jangly 1985 single "The River of Water" to 1997's signature tune "Autumn Sweater" to the rolling feedback of 1993's "Big Day Coming." Mixing album tracks and singles from throughout the Hoboken band's career, Prisoners includes plenty of pure pop like "Tom Courtenay" and "Sugarcube," sweet meditations like "The Summer" and "Season of the Shark," and distorted freak-outs like "I Heard You Looking" and "Blue Line Swinger." It also collects anomalies like the profane Sun Ra cover "Nuclear War" and the disco-inflected "You Can Have It All." While conventional wisdom states that Yo La Tengo hit their stride when bassist James McNew joined guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley for 1993's Painful, this non-chronological set places "Barnaby, Hardly Working" from 1989's President Yo La Tengo next to 2003's "Little Eyes" with no discernible gap in quality. Prisoners is essential from start to finish.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
I was a bit startled when I read the title of this compilation and it struck me that Yo La Tengo have been making records for almost 20 years now. As artists who have always followed their own path, Yo La Tengo have been making timeless music ever since they first started out, and if that description sounds a bit grand, little of the stuff on this set suggests the moment in rock history in which it was recorded "Little Eyes" from 2003's Summer Sun sits comfortably beside "Lewis" from 1987's New Wave Hot Dogs, and you can't say that about the work of many other bands that were considered hip in either year, so until the band and Matador Records chose to point it out to me, I never gave much thought to how long they'd been doing this stuff. Still mixing up folk, noise, pop, and indie rock after all this time, and still doing it with melodic intelligence and joy, Yo La Tengo don't seem like likely candidates for a career retrospective -- their average fan owns all of their albums, and with nearly all of their material in print, it's not as if curious newbies have limited options for checking out their music. But if you've ever dreamed of a "Yo La Tengo Greatest Hits" album, Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs, 1985-2003 is that notion made into a fine reality. Featuring material from all of their albums except for their debut, 1986's Ride the Tiger, this two-disc set is an embarrassment of riches, offering one great song after another over the space of 23 tracks and 110 minutes. From the noise-shot jangle rock of "Sugarcube" and the po-mo folk of "Autumn Sweater" to the witty skronk-fest of "The Story of Jazz" and the near-perfect pop single "Tom Courtenay," what's most remarkable about this album is that everything bears Yo La Tengo's clear musical personality and emotional warmth no matter what style they choose to follow, and it's all wonderful, engaging, and compelling stuff. If you've somehow managed to ignore Yo La Tengo in the first two decades of their existence, Prisoners of Love is the ideal way to get up to speed and acquaint yourself with the catalog; longtime fans won't be surprised, but they will get a potent reminder of what this group does so well.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/22/2005
  • Label: Matador Records
  • UPC: 744861061823
  • Catalog Number: 10618
  • Sales rank: 135,552

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Shaker (3:20)
  2. 2 Sugarcube (3:22)
  3. 3 Barnaby, Hardly Working (4:36)
  4. 4 Little Eyes (4:22)
  5. 5 Stockholm Syndrome (2:53)
  6. 6 Our Way to Fall (4:20)
  7. 7 From a Motel 6 (4:11)
  8. 8 Swing for Life (5:16)
  9. 9 Tom Courtenay (3:32)
  10. 10 Lewis (2:29)
  11. 11 I Heard You Looking (7:02)
  12. 12 You Can Have It All (4:37)
  13. 13 Did I Tell You (3:28)
Disc 2
  1. 1 The River of Water (2:31)
  2. 2 Autumn Sweater (5:19)
  3. 3 Big Day Coming (4:14)
  4. 4 Pablo and Andrea (4:17)
  5. 5 Drug Test (4:08)
  6. 6 Season of the Shark (4:29)
  7. 7 Upside-Down (2:41)
  8. 8 The Summer (2:39)
  9. 9 Tears Are in Your Eyes (4:35)
  10. 10 Blue Line Swinger (9:30)
  11. 11 The Story of Jazz (3:35)
  12. 12 Nuclear War (7:35)
  13. 13 By the Time It Gets Dark (3:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Yo La Tengo Primary Artist
Chris Stamey Guitar
Allan Greller Upright Bass
Gene Holder Bass Guitar
Georgia Hubley Drums, Vocals
Ira Kaplan Guitar, Vocals
Roger Moutenot Bongos
Dave Schramm Guitar
Stephan Wichnewski Bass Guitar
Dave Rick Bass Guitar
David Henry Cello
James McNew Bass Guitar
Mike Tchang Saxophone
Chris Nelson Trombone
Mike Tchang Saxophone
Al Greller Double Bass
Chris Nelson Trombone
Technical Credits
Sandy Denny Composer
Yo La Tengo Composer
Johnny Puleo Liner Notes
Greg Calbi Mastering
Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey Composer
Richard Finch Composer
Gene Holder Producer, Engineer
James MacMillan Engineer
Roger Moutenot Producer
John Siket Engineer
Fred Brockman Producer
Robert E. Miller Engineer
Byron Coley Liner Notes
Sun Radio Ibiza Composer
Peter Walsh Engineer
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