All the cool kids will slow dance to this one

So, sunny side up is not an option?

So, sunny side up is not an option?

When I found out that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were set to put out a new album, it made me react as if someone had told me a new coffeehouse was scheduled to open near my apartment. Cool, I love coffee and all that it does for me, especially on those mornings when even the thought of a paycheck isn’t enough to rouse me out of my bed. It’s always handy to have more coffee options. Of course, there are quite a few coffeehouses around already, given how Portland pretty much breathes coffee and beer. Usually, if I stop in for coffee at any of those places, location and time are the decisive factors. But if those considerations didn’t matter, I’d be all right with whatever coffee you pour down my gullet from any coffeehouse. It doesn’t matter where, and by the time I’ve finished salivating in anticipation of an expertly pulled double-shot Americano, I very well could have passed by the new coffeehouse en route to another one. Mmm, if it wasn’t almost my bedtime, I would so brew a cup of coffee right now.

And I may have fallen off the track a bit. Oh boy, how to jump back on? Bear with me. My affinity for coffee is pretty clear, but it’s hopefully just as obvious that the likelihood that I will enjoy a new set of tunes from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is pretty high. But even though the band’s output may be consistently fun to hear, you usually know just what to expect. And it’s something that so many bands do, both due to the influence of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and not, that you might not necessarily seek out their work over others. You figure Karen O will turn out her signature shriek and coo, her voice stretching the boundaries of her register with a cocky elasticity that rivals her live stage presence. You assume Brian Chase’s steady, loping drum beats will quietly carry each song. And as far as their new album, you wouldn’t be wrong about either of those things.

The thing that makes It’s Blitz! stand out from all the other shut-up-and-dance records that will be released this year, the factor on which the whereabouts of your morning’s coffee hinges, is the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s ability to make you focus on the humanity of their lyrics. It could be the work of genius producers. That’s certainly part of the story on this album, with Nick Launay (who produced Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!) and Dave Sitek (who fills both the musician’s and sound engineer’s shoes as a member of TV on the Radio) on production. But another undeniable part of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ appeal is how, amidst all the synthesized noises and repetitive structures, something so universal and honest goes on in the majority of their music that you could step off the dancefloor and give it a hug, whatever it is. In “Hysteric,” it’s that characteristic that makes a line as saccharine as “suddenly you complete me” sound just perfect in that capacity. Hey, maybe Karen wrote it before she had her morning cup of coffee and it just stuck. I can relate.

  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs ~ It’s Blitz! ~ Interscope



2 Responses to “All the cool kids will slow dance to this one”

  1. 1 solitaryartcollective April 6, 2009 at 5:16 AM

    I can’t lie, I was immediately drawn to this post because of the photograph. So great, and your caption is perfect!

    I’m buying the album right now. Although it can be really cathartic to shriek along with Karen O, her voice also amazingly suits the band’s ballads.

  2. 2 Old Vertue April 7, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    Thanks! The picture is a big selling point, for sure. Really, I’m not sure the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are really capable of making a bad album. Maybe nothing extremely original, but definitely nothing of sub-par quality either.

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