Painful (album)

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Studio album by Yo La Tengo
Released October 5, 1993
Genre Shoegazing, indie rock
Length 48:36
Label Matador Records
Producer Fred Brockman, Roger Moutenot
Yo La Tengo chronology
May I Sing with Me
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A–[2]
Pitchfork 9.6/10[3]

Painful is the sixth studio album by alternative rock band Yo La Tengo, released in 1993. 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 melodic-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. [4]

In popular culture[edit]

The song "Nowhere Near" was featured in the season one finale of the FX drama The Bridge.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Big Day Coming"  
  • Ira Kaplan
2. "From a Motel 6"  
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Georgia Hubley
3. "Double Dare"  
  • Ira Kaplan
4. "Superstar-Watcher"  
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Georgia Hubley
  • James McNew
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"  
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Georgia Hubley
  • James McNew
9. "The Whole of the Law"  
  • Peter Perrett
10. "Big Day Coming"  
  • Ira Kaplan
11. "I Heard You Looking"  
  • Ira Kaplan
  • Georgia Hubley
  • James McNew

Extra Painful bonus disc
No. Title Length
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
No. Title Length
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
  • An exact reproduction of the original single Shaker 7" came with the vinyl edition.
  • 15 additional bonus tracks were available for download


  • Georgia Hubley - drums, percussion, vocals, guitar, organ
  • Ira Kaplan - vocals, guitar, organ, percussion
  • James McNew - bass, vocals, guitar, percussion