Painful (album)

Painful is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, released in 1993 by record label Matador, their first for the label.

Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 5, 1993
  • Fred Brockman
  • Roger Moutenot
Yo La Tengo chronology
May I Sing with Me
Singles from Painful
  1. "Big Day Coming"
    Released: 30 September 1993
  2. "From a Motel 6"
    Released: 7 January 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[3]
Christgau's Consumer GuideA−[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[6]
Mojo4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[11]


The album marked a creative shift from Yo La Tengo's previous work, blending atmospheric and ambient sounds with their famous noise jams. Painful features a much more melody-driven Yo La Tengo in its hazy, dream-like songwriting.

Two versions of the track "Big Day Coming" are present on the album and display the range of musical stylings Yo La Tengo works with; the first version features a simple organ melody accompanied by a soft bass counterpoint and Kaplan's guitar feedback echoing in the background, while the second version is a much more straightforward, shoegaze style with an accompanying organ solo towards the latter part of the song.


On 2 December 2014, the album was reissued with bonus material as Extra Painful, available on double CD, double vinyl and as a digital download.[12]

Track listingEdit

1."Big Day Coming"
  • Ira Kaplan
2."From a Motel 6"
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Georgia Hubley
  • Hubley
  • Kaplan
3."Double Dare"
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Yo La Tengo
5."Nowhere Near"
  • Georgia Hubley
6."Sudden Organ"
  • Ira Kaplan
7."A Worrying Thing"
  • Ira Kaplan
8."I Was the Fool Beside You for Too Long"
  • Yo La Tengo
9."The Whole of the Law"
  • Hubley
  • Kaplan
10."Big Day Coming"
  • Ira Kaplan
11."I Heard You Looking"
  • Yo La Tengo
Extra Painful bonus disc
1."Nowhere Near" (demo)7:14
2."From A Motel 6" (live acoustic)3:44
3."Tunnel Vision" (unreleased instrumental demo)1:43
4."Sudden Organ" (demo)7:35
5."Smart Window" (unreleased Painful session)3:16
6."Big Day Coming" (live acoustic)3:10
7."Slow Learner" (unreleased demo)6:38
8."Double Dare" (demo)3:24
9."A Worrying Thing" (demo)2:57
10."I Heard You Looking" (live)9:17
Extra Painful bonus downloadable additional tracks
1."Double Dare (Sominextraction)" (live, CBGB, 1/31/92)5:41
2."What She Wants" (live, House Of Music, West Orange)2:54
3."Ashes On The Ground" (live, SIR, 9/29/93))5:14
4."Nutricia" (recorded At Snack Time by Fred Brockman)5:04
5."For Shame Of Doing Wrong (Slide Version)" (live, House Of Music, West Orange)4:37
6."Superstar Watcher" (recorded At Snack Time by Fred Brockman)1:45
7."Big Day Coming" (live, Reckless Records, 4/26/92)19:02
8."I Was The Fool Beside You For Too Long" (live , SIR, 9/29/93)4:43
9."Shaker" (live, The Batschkapp, Frankfurt, 1/3/94)3:07
10."Artificial Heart" (live, Shank Hall, 5/11/93)2:39
11."Whole Of The Law Loops" (Painful Sessions, Water Music & James Apartment 1992)2:45
12."Nowhere Near" (live, Lounge Ax, Chicago 11/13/93)6:04
13."Sleeping Pill" (excerpt From "Ian Mackaye", Room Temperature, Brooklyn 2/20/93)2:12
14."Big Day Coming" (live, SIR, 9/29/93)3:45
15."Sudden Organ" (live, SIR, 9/29/93)7:04
Shaker 7" reissue
2."For Shame Of Doing Wrong" (8-Track Version - the CD single contained a different version which is on the download coupon) 
  • An exact reproduction of the original single Shaker 7" came with the vinyl edition.
  • 15 additional bonus tracks were available for download



  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Yo La Tengo – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Deming, Mark. "Painful – Yo La Tengo". AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (November 11, 1993). "Melody Lingers On". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Yo La Tengo: Painful". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  6. ^ "Yo La Tengo: Painful". Entertainment Weekly: 54. October 8, 1993.
  7. ^ Chick, Stevie (February 2015). "Yo La Tengo: Extra Painful". Mojo (255): 102.
  8. ^ "Yo La Tengo: Painful". NME: 29. November 6, 1993.
  9. ^ Berman, Stuart (December 2, 2014). "Yo La Tengo: Extra Painful". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Yo La Tengo". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 896–97. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Cosloy, Gerard. "Yo La Tengo > Coming December 2 : Yo La Tengo's 'Extra Painful' 2XLP / 2XCD". Matador Records. Retrieved December 9, 2014.

External linksEdit