The decade has come to an end. And of course, you know what that means-lists, `best ofs’ and all kinds of general retrospective features and columns. Now that the last ten years have passed, we’re continuing our look at the best non-single tracks to emerge since the Y2K scare proved to be a non-event. Every week we’ll be highlighting a handful of our favorite tracks of the decade, so keep checking back to hear about what songs remained on repeat on our iPods, CD players, tape decks and turntables since Jan. 1, 2000.
Yo La Tengo – “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven”
from Popular Songs
This past summer my boyfriend and I broke up. Just edging the two-year mark, the relationship disintegrated and I was heartbroken. Mind you, it was all for the best and I’m a better person, in a better place for it but at the time, it certainly didn’t feel like it. I’m a bit of a romantic at heart and through I’m often loath to say it, I am happiest when I’m in a partnership of some sort. Now, this entry isn’t going to be about my romantic trials and tribulations, rather I use this to preface why Yo La Tengo’s “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven” is so meaningful to me.
Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley have been married for as long as I can remember. Like Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, they’re low-key and there’s something so stable and loving about their relationship. Perhaps I’m projecting, but the idea of a couple that can create together, tour together and be seemingly sane human beings just tugs at my heartstrings. When I reviewed their latest album, Popular Songs, it was two months after my break-up and I was absolutely disinterested in any sort of committed relationship. Yet when I listened to “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven,” my heart just fell to pieces. When Kaplan sings “we’ll walk hand in hand,” I got a little misty and I longed for such a simple gesture. It hit home: I wanted a love, a romance like Kaplan and Hubley, like Gordon and Moore. Part of the reason why my relationship ended was that we couldn’t be the partners we each wanted, no matter how much we loved it each other, no matter how much we wanted it to work – it couldn’t. Listening to Kaplan and Hubley sing, in hushed tones as percussion steadily progresses and the guitars swirl around them:
“We’ll walk hand in hand
Never as we planned
And even those we never knew
Fast they disappear from view
Fading world without a price
Right before our very eyes
Melts before our very eyes
Dies before our very eyes”
Yes, there’s something morbid about it, but also so romantic about wanting to spend your moments, even as the world disappears, with your spouse, your partner, your significant other. That bare and simple desire that Kaplan lays out is more profound than anything I had heard this year. The more I listened to “More Stars Than There Are In Heaven,” the more secure I felt in what I wanted in a partner, the more I felt ready to be committed to someone. It feels a bit cheesy to admit that a song had that much of an effect on me, but it did and it still does.