Yo La Tengo Loves to Murder Covers


Yo La Tengo is releasing another series of totally destroyed versions of covers from their annual performances at WFMU’s fundraiser. The compilation, Murder in the Second Degree, is a follow-up to the band’s 2006 release Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics, and like its predecessor the liner notes are vague, replaced by a promise that “there are endless ways to ruin a song”:

For the last 20 years (and counting), Yo La Tengo, accompanied by cub reporter Bruce Bennett, have performed live on WFMU during their fundraising Marathon, and in return for listeners’ pledges of support, we have attempted to play their requests, with no prior knowledge of what those requests will be, and without utilizing any of the many web sites that provide lyrics and chords. We rely instead on a lifetime of listening and the forgiveness of our audience.

As with this volume’s predecessor, we will not tell you what songs are essayed. A track listing that includes, say, “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Rock and Roll Love Letter” and “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” (one of which is here; the other two have never been requested) will all but demand imagining how it might sound, and you will be wrong. As listeners familiar with Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics already know, but you will learn the hard way: There are endless ways to ruin a song.

And let’s all raise a glass of something non-alcoholic to WFMU’s Gaylord Fields, who has either hosted or co-hosted us for all 20 (and counting) years.

Buy the album via the band’s website and, in the spirit of the thing, you can always support WFMU here.

Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →