My Top 1000 Songs #234: Deeper Into Movies

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Yo La Tengo's 1997 career-defining statement I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is riddled with band peaks across the sonic spectrum, from the noise-pop nugget "Sugarcube" to the electronica-tinged "Autumn Sweater" to the quietly soothing "Damage." But it's the relentlessly noisy and cathartic "Deeper Into Movies" that really captured my imagination. It borders on abrasive, with its feedback-drenched guitars and frenetic percussion, a layered cacophony that totally envelops you (if played at appropriately high volume). The vocals, sung in harmony by Ira and Georgia (and later joined by bassist James), are distant, mostly buried in the din, just one more instrument in the vast mix; yet little traces burble through, something about "messages from outer space" and a "finger in the sky" feeling absolutely fitting within the overall vibe. Surrender yourself to the aural assault, and the song ultimately does feel like something delivered from some distant universe.

Two decades later, on 2015's acoustic covers album Stuff Like That There, the band recreated one of the loudest songs in their own repertoire as a hushed, almost ambient ballad. It's a surprising choice, and yet it works--at least as well as the original, maybe better? This time around, the lyrics are in the foreground, dominated by Georgia's fragile whisper (and the lyrics are as cosmic as the original promised). If I had the technical skill, I'd love to mash up the two versions, joining the gorgeous vocals on the remake with the intense howl of the original, but for now it's something I can only hear in my head, which may be best.

The original:

The acoustic remake:
Live--last week!