Tag: karen o

MUSIC REVIEW | Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito (2013)

Mosquito by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Plotting the evolution of Yeah Yeah Yeahs across the three previous records has meant following a story of growing confidence, lessening gimmicks and an impressive exhibition of embracing the uniqueness of their early days, while never relying on that or becoming a pale imitations of themselves.  Now as I hit their fourth album, released a decade after their first, we’re hitting the kind of age when dialling things down too much could turn into becoming old and boring.  But with the goodwill established be the earlier albums, I had high hopes for Mosquito.

High hopes supported straight away with Sacrilege.  That great Yeah Yeah Yeahs industrial tinged sound, complimented by a gospel choir.  Not a combination I ever would have predicted, but a combination that works surprisingly well.  Speaking of surprisingly effective combinations, following Sacrilege with Subway is a massive mood shift that would seem jarring and even off putting on paper, but in practice, they fit just right.  Karen O’s haunting vocals over a rhythm set by a literal subway train rattling along the rails, it’s minimalist, but smothering at the same time. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz! (2009)

It's Blitz

Binge watching is the rage with the kids today, what with the Houses of Cards, Oranges are the News Blacks, Dares-Devil and what not.  But I don’t think I’ve ever binge listened before now.  I’ve discovered older bands with deep back catalogues before.  But usually I’ll obsess over one album at a time before moving on to the next.  Devouring the Yeah Yeah Yeahs discography over the space of a few days has given me a new way to look at a band and their career.  I’m more aware of a band’s evolution than usual, and I like it.  And now that I’m three records in as I cover It’s Blitz!, I love the direction that their evolution took.

The driving synth in the opening seconds of Zero is the kind of agenda setter that gets me pumped for an album and what’s to come.  Never afraid of electronica, this is Yeah Yeah Yeahs embracing it more than anything on their previous two records, and I like it.  Karen O is a singer who would have sounded great in the post punk, new wave 80s.  But she’s a singer who sounds phenomenal in the new millennium when everything is post-post and neo-new. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones (2006)


With their debut Fever to Tell, it was the fully formed, fully unique sound of such a young band that impressed me most with Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  The downside of such a unique sound is that any follow up in the same vein could sound like a repeat.  When there’s nothing else to compare it to but their own work, it gets a little easier to accuse a band of being one trick ponies.  But, that is 100% objective.  Because while millions of fans all over the world love The Strokes, I’ve always thought they have basically just made the same mediocre song over and over and over again.  On the other hand, I love every single song Primus has ever made, while others could easily accuse them of repetitiveness and redundancy.

All of that is to say, I‘ve heard Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ sophomore record once or twice over the years and liked it.  But I’d never listened closely enough to have a good idea of how it holds up against their debut.  So this time around, I listened to How Your Bones as a standalone album, but also as part of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs discography. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell (2003)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Back in 2003, Yeah Yeah Yeahs burst out of seemingly nowhere.  They got played a lot on alternative radio and I thought they were better than OK.  But there was a feeling of gimmick to them.  The silly name, the lack of bass player, the cartoony Karen O on vocals.  Something just seemed a little loo calculated about it.  Like the look of the band had been more thought out than the sound.  More than a decade and several more albums later, and I’ve heard enough from these guys to know that they’re more than just a gimmick.  Definitely more than a gimmick enough for me to have listened to their debut album a lot more than I have.  Which is why I’m giving  Fever to Tell another, more than deserved spin.

In my limited experience with this band, I’ve always known that it’s the vocals of Karen O that are responsible for that quintessential sound.  The way she can seamlessly go from sultry vixen, to bratty pop girl, to punk rock attitude, to brassy blues broad, to countless other sounds, means every song has the possibility to go anywhere.  And Fever to Tell showcases that vocal versatility right out of the gate with Rich, three and a half minutes of O showing off what she can do in a way that never seems like showing off. (more…)