#943: ‘You Can Have It All’ – Yo La Tengo

When I first attempted to do a similar list to this, in the final months of 2009, I gave myself a rule that was pretty unnecessary. That rule was ‘no cover versions allowed’. I looked back on that rule and thought that it seems rather stupid, especially in terms of this list. After all, if it was truly a representation of my 1000 favourite songs, I’d be cutting out plenty of tracks that I love if I imposed this rule, thereby making the list somewhat of a lie, at least in my eyes. Nevertheless, let us welcome into the fold this blog’s first cover song.

To many, the first time they heard this track, may have been from the Juno soundtrack, or at the very least, the second disc of the soundtrack, which included many tracks that inspired the making of the song. Frankly, that makes sense. The film was a perfect example of indie cinema, and what perfect way to represent the musical feel of that film by being inspired by a number of great indie classics, including one of the quintessentially critically-loved indie bands, Yo La Tengo.

This track, ‘You Can Have It All’, is a cover of George McCrae’s disco hit of the same name from 1974. It was McCrae’s third single, and was a typically-written disco song. The lyrics consisted of not much except lyrics like “If you want, want my love; take it baby. If you want, want my heart; take it baby,” and served as one of the rather typically positive, feel-good disco songs of the era, even if it wasn’t terribly commercially successful.

In 2000, Yo La Tengo kicked off the new millennium by releasing their ninth record, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. Like much of their discography, it was typically subdued and laidback, with flashes of brilliance strewn throughout. The middle track was this cover, and went on to become one of their best known hits.

While it is a shame that one of their better known tracks is indeed a cover, it’s also somewhat fitting as well. For a band who is known rather well for their extensive back catalogue of covers, it serves as a perfect introduction for new fans of the band, especially when you consider they have not only taken an already great song, given it the trademark Yo La Tengo treatment, and it has gone on to be loved by legions of new fans. They did well with this track, and they should definitely be proud.

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