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]
Pitchfork Media (9.6/10) [1]
Robert Christgau A−[2]

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. [3]

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)  
2. "From A Motel 6" (live acoustic)  
3. "Tunnel Vision" (unreleased instrumental demo)  
4. "Sudden Organ" (demo)  
5. "Smart Window" (unreleased Painful session)  
6. "Big Day Coming" (live acoustic)  
7. "Slow Learner" (unreleased demo)  
8. "Double Dare" (demo)  
9. "A Worrying Thing" (demo)  
10. "I Heard You Looking" (live)  
  • An exact reproduction of the original single Shaker 7" came with the vinyl edition.


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


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Painful (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 8 August 2006.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Yo La Tengo > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  3. ^ Cosloy, Gerard. "Yo La Tengo > Coming December 2 : Yo La Tengo’s ‘Extra Painful’ 2XLP / 2XCD". Matador Records. Retrieved 9 December 2014.