Review Summary: Yo La Tengo turn the mirror on themselves – a band encapsulating a married couple – and create a distorted, melancholic self-portrait.
Melancholy and disappointment pervade the music and lyrics of Summer Sun. “Little Eyes” “Today is the Day” and “Don’t Have to Be So Sad” are beautiful both for their minor key tonality and memorable lines and melodies centering on relationships. The significance of the album title, I believe, has to do with the feeling that everyone who has entered into a meaningful long-term relationship has felt -- namely, disappointment in a significant other and sadness. All relationships have a spring, summer, autumn, and eventual winter. Summer Sun captures autumn.
Summer steaks and summer stays too long
Autumn comes and all of the sudden it’s gone
Tiny birds sit patiently
Side by side on a wire
Darker days and leaves in shapes so true
Wind unfolds on nights so black their blue
Tiny birds fly silently
Side by side in the sky
Don’t be so sad when it’s time to say goodnight
I’ll be there to make sure that you sleep tight
I’m your friend when you need a friend
Until there’s nothing left in the world to make you cry [Tiny Birds]
Yo La Tengo turn the mirror on themselves – a band encapsulating a married couple – and create a distorted image, melancholic in its self-portrait. Summer Sun is beautiful and atmospheric, but its beauty is fleeting. Apparently, New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo’s idea of the summer sun is picturesque yet brief.