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 and 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]

Painful is the sixth studio album released in 1993 by alternative rock band Yo La Tengo. 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.

In popular culture[edit]

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

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Big Day Coming" (Ira Kaplan) – 7:04
  2. "From a Motel 6" (Kaplan, Georgia Hubley) – 4:08
  3. "Double Dare" (Kaplan) – 3:28
  4. "Superstar-Watcher" (Kaplan, Hubley, James McNew) – 1:42
  5. "Nowhere Near" (Hubley) – 6:01
  6. "Sudden Organ" (Kaplan) – 4:42
  7. "A Worrying Thing" (Kaplan) – 2:53
  8. "I Was the Fool Beside You for Too Long" (Kaplan, Hubley, McNew) – 5:04
  9. "The Whole of the Law" (Peter Perrett, The Only Ones cover) – 2:19
  10. "Big Day Coming" (Kaplan) – 4:14
  11. "I Heard You Looking" (Kaplan, Hubley, McNew) – 7:01


  • 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.