Beginning in 1996, Yo La Tengo supported the fundraising efforts of New York's world-renowned independent radio outlet WFMU with annual studio visits. All listeners who pledged money during the band's appearances were offered the chance to request a favorite song that YLT would then attempt to perform. Compiling more than two dozen WFMU highlights first broadcast between 1996 and 2003, Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics is as sloppy and awkward as its title portends, but it's nevertheless an amusing listen galvanized by the overwhelming love of rock & roll that informs all of the band's efforts. Far removed from the intricacy and beauty that characterizes Yo La Tengo's official covers LP Fakebook, Murdering the Classics lurches and stumbles its way through pop milestones spanning from Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up" to "The Hokey Pokey" to the Shea Stadium perennial "Meet the Mets." Chord changes are flubbed, lyrics are mangled, and medleys are patched together from little more than desperation and perspiration. But the trio's energy and resourcefulness save the day. Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics is bar band rock in excelsis, buoyed by a spirit of generosity that's far too rare in all walks of life.
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