I Make a Wrong Turn Right
I want to think it isn't that long ago, but Fakebook is already nearly 20 years old, so I guess this video, which I'm not sure I've ever seen before despite it being official and all (but we're talking Yo La Tengo, so even the official stuff disappears within seconds of being created), is fair game for this feature, now a whole 2 weeks old. And despite my snarkiness about YLT's commercial chops, I assume anyone wandering into this here blog knows who they are, as next to the Mekons (perhaps even before them) they've sustained me for longer than any musical group, while other faves, like XTC, say, easily fell by the wayside. Part of that is they seem to be able to do anything, from the super sweet and wistful (witness this video) to totally rocking pop ("Sugarcube") to stuff out there in numerous ways (a whole ep of Sun Ra "Nuclear War" covers, say). Maybe it's the NJ thing, too. They're even Mets fans. Plus the couple of times I've managed to meet them, they sure seemed nice.
As for this song, well, is there a better advertisement for the ease and ache of decay? How seductive it is to measure our lives in seasons, to think the calendar cares a whit. Yo La Tengo has consistently, of course, been drawn to fall, from "Autumn Sweater" to "Here to Fall" on the latest CD, which says I'm here to fall with you but also worries about worry, in such a YLT way. It's never easy, is it, even in summer when the pretty guitar parts let out string creaks as if to say you've got to earn that pretty, sucker.
That's the danger of thinking summer is casual as we dress down, heat up, take off. It's anything but. All that sun, all that day, so much that seemed hidden gets revealed. That's what the warning light might be--notice in the video the lovely visual rhyme of the stoplight and the sun. While that light will turn green, the sun is doing its amber hazy set, gorgeous as we've choked the sky with plenty for it to refract through, enough to hide it would blind us if it could. Those who've spent enough time in bars can generalize one of their lessons, for at closing time everyone is beautiful.
For, of course, the summer does come undone. Everything does--the simple pleasures of a simple pop song, the sentence perfectly said, that, yes that, kiss. You and I. If there's a tune we share we better damn well sing it while we can, even if we can barely sing, ants trilling our scraps. At the end we can hope it's sleep, we can.