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Studio album by Yo La Tengo
Released May 2, 1995
Studio Alex the Great Studios in Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Indie rock
Length 58:23
Label Matador
Producer Roger Moutenot
Yo La Tengo chronology
Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo
Singles from Electr-O-Pura
  1. "Tom Courtenay"
    Released: March 21, 1995
  2. "Blue Line Swinger"
    Released: October 1995

Electr-O-Pura is the seventh studio album by American indie rock band Yo La Tengo, released on May 2, 1995 by record label Matador. The album received very positive reviews from music critics.

Recording and release[edit]

Electr-O-Pura was recorded at Alex the Great Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and produced by Roger Moutenot, who previously recorded the band's previous album, Painful. The band named the album after an extinct soda brand;[1] they discovered the name while they were visiting the Museum of Beverage Containers in Nashville while the album was still in production.[2] The hyphens were added as the band's "own editorial comment."[2] Electr-O-Pura was released on May 2, 1995 by the independent record label Matador Records.[3] The song "Tom Courtenay", which is a tribute to the English film star,[4] was released as a single on March 21, 1995.[5]

In the back of the CD case, the songs are deliberately listed with wrong running times and random alternate titles to fool listeners.[6] As singer and guitarist Ira Kaplan explains, "I think sometimes people have a tendency to look at a song and say, 'Oh, it's six minutes long. This is gonna suck. Pop songs should be three minutes.' So we thought we'd say, 'Oh yeah, we agree with you completely', and have people not go into 'Flying Lesson' or 'Blue Line Swinger' already armed to not like this song, and maybe trick them into listening to it once."[6] The alternate titles were lifted from a book on the Blues Project.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[7]
Christgau's Consumer Guide A[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[9]
Entertainment Weekly A[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[11]
Select 4/5[12]
Spin 9/10[13]

Electr-O-Pura received very positive reviews from music critics. Steven Mirkin, writing for Entertainment Weekly, commented: "Combining homespun charm, critical sophistication, and a fan's enthusiasm, Yo La Tengo sounds like a well-adjusted Velvet Underground. Electr-O-Pura's songs run the gamut from loopy pop to pensive folk to flat-out weird; their unpretentious honesty brings them together into a musically and emotionally satisfying whole."[10]

In 1996, the album was ranked at number 9 in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for 1995.[14] Similarly, Spin placed the album at number 11 on their list of the "20 Best Albums of '95".[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Vocals Length
1. "Decora" Hubley 3:27
2. "Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)" Kaplan 6:42
3. "The Hour Grows Late" Kaplan 3:06
4. "Tom Courtenay" Kaplan 3:30
5. "False Ending"   0:56
6. "Pablo and Andrea" Hubley 4:16
7. "Paul Is Dead" Kaplan 2:26
8. "False Alarm" Kaplan 5:28
9. "The Ballad of Red Buckets" Kaplan 4:00
10. "Don't Say a Word (Hot Chicken #2)" Hubley 3:28
11. "(Straight Down to the) Bitter End" Hubley 3:59
12. "My Heart's Reflection" Kaplan 6:02
13. "Attack on Love" Kaplan 1:52
14. "Blue Line Swinger" Hubley 9:19


  1. ^ Norris, Chris (1997-05-17). "It Takes Three to Tengo". New York. 30 (18): 48–51. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  2. ^ a b Gauger, Soren A. (1995-11-06). "Yo La Tengo Interview". The Peak. Archived from the original on 2015-11-29. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  3. ^ a b c Deming, Mark. "Electr-O-Pura – Yo La Tengo". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  4. ^ "Yo La Tengo". The Beaver County Times: 5. 1995-05-21. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  5. ^ "Tom Courtenay [EP] – Yo La Tengo". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2014-09-27. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  6. ^ a b Westlund, Josh (1996-04-14). "This ain't flamenco: Kaplan and Yo La Tengo turn it on". The Yale Herald. Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2015-11-29. 
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (1995-07-13). "Extreme Beauty". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  10. ^ a b Mirkin, Steven (1995-05-26). "Electr-O-Pura". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  11. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Yo La Tengo". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 896–97. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  12. ^ Morris, Mark (June 1995). "Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura". Select (60): 89. 
  13. ^ Sutton, Terri (June 1995). "Yo La Tengo: Electr-O-Pura". Spin. 11 (3): 100. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  14. ^ "The 1995 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 1996-02-20. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  15. ^ Davis, Erik (January 1996). "20 Best Albums Of '95". Spin. 11 (10): 62–63. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 

External links[edit]