Richard Nisley

I've Got It
Pop Culture Released - Dec 08, 2014

It wasn’t exactly a moment that altered the course of planets or changed the course of mighty rivers, but it would have meaning long past that day at a baseball game in 1962, where two members of the New York Mets were scrambling to catch a fly ball. The players were center fielder Richie Ashburn and shortstop Elio Chacon. Ashburn screamed “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” only to collide with Chacon, who spoke only Spanish. They were both okay. Later, to avoid future collisions, Ashburn learned to yell, “Yo la tengo!” which in Spanish means “I’ve got it.” A week later, Ashburn went for a fly ball crying “Yo la tengo!” He saw Chacon back off, relaxed, and positioned himself to make the catch. The next moment he was flattened by left field Frank Thomas, who understood no Spanish and had missed the team meeting where it was agreed to shout “Yo la tengo” to avoid a collision. After getting up, Thomas asked Ashburn, “What the hell is a Yellow Tango?”

Today, Yo La Tengo is the name of an American indie rock band formed in Hoboken, New Jersey, where another musician got his start—Frank Sinatra. Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley began performing as a husband-wife duo in 1984. Since 1992, the band has operated as a trio, with Ira (guitars, piano and vocals), Georgia (drums, piano vocals) and James McNew (bass, vocals). Despite achieving limited mainstream success, Yo La Tengo has been called “the quintessential critics’ band" and maintains a strong cult following. My son, Bill, counts Yo La Tengo as his favorite band. He is my guest writer this week, with a few words to share about why he likes the band so much. Bill:

Combining a sense of calm and chaos in their music, they have not failed to produce interesting music for the past thirty years. With their recent effort “Fade,” they stuck to a more traditional length for an album. With other releases though, they have been known to play up to 70 minutes. Even with a long album, Yo La Tengo explores many sonic atmospheres that keep the interest of listeners. The extra time is used wisely. They’re considered the “Quintessential Critic’s Band” because they keep progressing and experimenting, and it’s still good!

For whatever mood I’m in, this band always has a song I’d like to hear. The enjoyment I get from the music never wears away either. I have found myself in a habit of putting on “And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out” on a nightly basis. A band like Animal Collective, which I’m quite fond of as well, cannot suit my needs all the time. They may be interesting and competent, but they are not well rounded (for my needs) like the Indie Rock veterans I know and love.

Keep On Rocking Yo La Tengo (“I’ve Got It”!).
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