Yo La Tengo's Six Best Cover Songs

Categories: Nitpick Six

4. "You Can Have It All" (originally by George McCrae)

The best covers are those that sound like they were written by and for the artist doing the covering. I don't know the original - naturally, I could click on George McCrae's name above and then pretend I'm an expert - but I do know that if somebody played me Yo La Tengo's second best album (And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out) and asked which song was a cover, I would not guess "You Can Have It All."

3. "Nuclear War" (originally by Sun Ra)

Yo La Tengo might be to rock and roll what Sun Ra is to jazz: strange artists with a sense of humor and a penchant for trying their audience's patience. Ra's "Nuclear War" is a free jazz drone with call and response chants such as "Talkin' bout (yeah) nuclear war (yeah) when you push that button (yeah) your ass gots to go (yeah)." Beside the fact that it's stripped to just drums and vocals, Yo La Tengo's version is fairly faithful, and there's something kind of amazing about hearing these notoriously unhip New Jersey residents say "What you gonna do without your ass?" on repeat.

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