Yo La Tengo – “Sleepless Night” Review

Story posted October 13, 2020 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Emily McGlynn

Amid sweater weather, Yo La Tengo provides listeners with new, warming tunes to fill the Autumn days with their latest EP “Sleepless Night.”

Yo La Tengo, an indie rock band, has been around and active since the mid 1980s. The band has produced 15 studio albums and 15 EPs.

“Sleepless Night” is now Yo La Tengo’s16 EP. Earlier in 2020, they released another EP, “We Have Amnesia Sometimes.”

In the last EP, the band had a more of a home-made feel. This EP, on the other hand, is more put together and pleasing for the ear.

“Sleepless Night” contains six tracks for a total of 19 minutes. The music and the production of this EP is quite excellent. Each song includes an array of soothing guitars that complement each other, making the EP very relaxing.

The song “Bleeding” uses multiple soft, electric guitars that create an iridescent sound. “Smile A Little Smile for Me” only uses one, simple acoustic guitar. The song is so innocent and the soft vocals make the song wholesome and sweet. The song could be a lullaby in a sense.

However, the band is still able to diversify its sound. “Blues Stay Away from Me” and a cover of The Byrds’ “Wasn’t Born to Follow” are more on the country side. The style of the songs and the banjo used on “Wasn’t Born to Follow” can throw listeners off. Yet, they are soft and soothing, therefore it still goes with the aesthetic of the album.

Looking at artists that have been around for a long time, many have switched over to the pop side of music. Yo Le Tengo is the only band that has stuck to their sound and has not allowed others to influence their music.

“Sleepless Night” brings nostalgia to how soft, indie rock music was like in the 1990s. 

In general, he fun of music is that it is up to the listener to interpret the cover and the lyrics. The title of this EP is a dead giveaway to what is discussed in the songs.

The writer of these songs had or has a lot on their plate, as so much going on to the point where he or she could not sleep during the night. Each song explains the writer’s feelings toward what he or she is going through, such as relationships and past painful events.

Track number six, “Smile a Little Smile for Me,” a sweet and hopeful song, concludes the EP. Everything the writer went through will be over and it encourages others to smile for the bright future ahead.

"Sleepless Night” is very well done. It flows well together and could be relatable for many people. This EP brings a little bit of purity to these situations especially during a time like now, with a pandemic and an extremely diverse political uprising.

Yo La Tengo has been making music for more than 30 years. Hopefully, the indie rock band continues to make music like this and music in general.

Rating: 7/10 
Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Smile A Little Smile for Me”
Least Favorite Song: “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”

Emily McGlynn is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email esm5378@psu.edu