Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Yo La Tengo: Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003 [Matador, 2005]
Since Yo La Tengo's discographical accomplishments begin with their mastery of their own song titles, I assumed and fervently hoped that this best-of would boast a neat table indicating recording date and provenance of original release, but instead the booklet comprises readable, fact-impaired essays by two bosom buddies. Those scamps. Research indicates that of the 26 songs on the first two discs, no more than three come from any of their four best albums; that either disc plays as smoothly as any of said four and as deeply as any but I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One; and that the "outtakes and rarities" add-on consistently recalls those moments on said four that you forgive and even enjoy because they're on their best albums. These aren't. [Recyclables]