Heads will roll ... again
Yeah Yeah Yeah's deliver compelling follow-up to 'It's Blitz!'
Believe it or not, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been around for an entire decade now. Whereas most bands would have faded into obscurity since then, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs prove that they are more than capable of producing fresh, new music with the release of their latest album, ‘Mosquito,’ last week.
Since debuting their wildly successful album, ‘Fever to Tell,’ in 2003, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have developed a reputation for their unpredictability. Their music is never static and is most definitely never confined to one genre. ‘Fever to Tell’ was an art punk masterpiece featuring only guitars, drums and lead singer, Karen O’s primitive screaming and wailing vocals. ‘Show Your Bones,’ the group’s second effort, was considerably tamer, favoring a more melodic core over the hardly bottled up maniacal energy of ‘Fever.’ ‘It’s Blitz!,’ Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ third and my personal favorite album by the band, left the punk rock sound for a more ‘80s new wave, avant-pop feel.
The variety within ‘Mosquito’ alone is astounding. The album listens like a mixtape — every song consists of a different texture and a new approach to various styles and genres. There is a stark contrast between songs like title track “Mosquito,” which harkens back to ‘Fever to Tell’ with Karen O screaming “They’ll suck your blood!” over and over again, and songs such as “Sacrilege,” which explores uncharted territory, employing a full choir for a dramatic flair.
With any album with such variety, some songs will inevitably shine more brightly than others. “Buried Alive,” one of the album’s weaker songs, features “Dr. Octagon” or Kool Keith and it serves as a strong reminder that rap and Karen O’s banshee-like vocals should never mix.
But after several listens through the album, several gems do emerge. “Subway” is a wistful, evocative collage of sounds, consisting of noises from the New York City subway in the background that serve as a befitting complement to Karen O’s delicate falsetto. “Wedding Song” is a beautiful ballad that serves both as a soothing comedown from the more frenetic songs such as “Area 52,” and as an apt conclusion to the album.
Though many of the songs do not quite reach potential, and “Maps” — of ‘Fever to Tell’ fame — will always be my favorite song, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs continue to push more boundaries and explore their capabilities as a band, which is no small feat considering their history. Even as a decade-old band, ‘Mosquito’ proves that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will remain relevant for years to come.