A Warm, Fuzzy Blanket | “Fallout” by Yo La Tengo


Maggie Heflin, Airstaff Coach

Indie rock trio Yo La Tengo has been releasing critically acclaimed music for four decades, and they’re back for more. On Nov. 2, the group released their first single, “Fallout,” off their upcoming Feb. 2023 album entitled This Stupid World

The song begins abruptly with a tight guitar riff layered above fuzzy bass, creating a large wall of sound the band is so familiar with, although the driving tempo of this song separates it from other Yo La Tengo tunes. I often associate the group with mellow melodies and slow-progressing layers, so I was surprised by the fast pace and jarring introduction. 

Once the band’s typical hushed vocals were added, I began to relax. The vocals aided in melting all the layers together into the usual melting pot I’m used to. The distortion continues throughout the song, broken only by the high-hat of the drum. This leads into two beautiful bridges where crashing cymbals and synths are joined together under the warm guitar fuzz. The various breaks in the song are an escape from the wall of sound the listeners are presented with in the beginning, underscoring the song’s themes of escapism.

Near the end of the song, lead vocalist Ira Kaplan invites us to “fall out of time” with him. With Kaplan’s invitation, the listener can escape into Yo La Tengo’s energetic noise as the song continues to layer before closing with soft harmonies and various guitar riffs interjected sporadically. The song ends with one final guitar strum; the distortion carries into the silence, granting the audience a smooth transition out of the escape they found with this song. 

This week, winter weather reared its head. When you’re stuck in your dorm room, consider escaping with Yo La Tengo and their newest song. Trade the relenting cold for the trio’s wonderfully unrelenting sound. Bundle up in the sound of warm fuzz.