Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Mariah Carey gave viewers across the nation a…
- Posted on Sep 9th 2009 12:00PM by Mike Ayers
"When we got together with [Fair], he asked if we wanted to rehearse," Kaplan explains. "And we said 'Well, what do you want to do? If you were making the decision, would you rehearse or just go in and record?' and he said, 'Just go in and record.' So we said 'Let's try it your way and that's what we did. We just showed up at our rehearsal space at the time. We just started playing things off the top of our heads as quickly as we could. Jad would listen and sing along. That experience was so much fun and exciting, we just used that as a template ever since."
On 'Popular Songs,' the most obvious tunes that sound like they were born out of that technique show up towards the end with the 11-minute-plus, acoustic-based song 'The Fireside' and the 15-minute-plus 'And the Glitter Is Gone.' But listening to the organ-driven pop of 'Periodically Double or Triple' or the driving guitar of 'Avalon or Someone Very Similar' are also examples of how the band has become so self-contained that they can seemingly birth any style out of improv origins. Sometimes they strike gold, sometimes not. "Starting with [1995's] 'Electr-O-Pura,' every song comes from the band getting together and playing," Kaplan says. "Sometimes a song comes from it, sometimes an idea comes where we can base a song on it, sometimes we go home with our heads down."
That said, Kaplan concedes that Yo La Tengo never start thinking too hard about the words until the song is done or nearly done. "The lyrics are the last element to be written," he says. "We always have melodies and the lyrics generally stay true to the original melody. I don't think the three of us own one notebook for [lyrical] purposes."