Thursday, March 19, 2009

Album Review, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!

  After the first listen, I described this album as being one with two killer singles, and a lot of songs that I wasn't comfortable with. That wasn't fair. This is probably my favorite album of the year so far (and I really liked Franz Ferdinand and Lily Allen's releases!), so here comes my final (or not) veredict about it:

"Where are the guitars?". "They are just going electronic, doing what everyone else is doing", "Karen O is not screaming as in the other records". Who cares? Apparently a bunch of closed minded fans who would be happy if one of the most talented bands of this decade just tried to rewrite 'Fever To Tell' in every album. It's true that could work. A band can survive and manage to please fans by doing exactly the same in every album (hello Kaiser Chiefs!), but the YYYs are just better than that. 

It's Blitz! is, above all, an amazing reinvention exercise, of a band who is able to change things and still remain more than interesting. 

Opener track and lead single 'Zero' gives you the right idea of the quality that you're going to find in the rest of the album. A dance track with synths a la TV On The Radio, once it takes off, it feels like nothing can stop them. 'Your a zero, what's your name, no one is gonna ask, you better find out where they want you to goo!', this has been the sound track of my life for the past weeks and I just don't see myself getting tired of it.

Things get even better with 'Heads will roll'. 'Off with your head. Dance till you're dead!'. You know that feeling of going out, getting wasted and dancing all night long like nothing else in the world matters? This is just that. I can see this taking over indie dance floors all around the world and for me is a serious candidate for track of the year.

Third song 'Soft Shock' slows down things a little bit but never too much. The party feeling doesn't really leave here, although this may please fans of slow music. 

Just when you start to think that they came up with a dance album, there comes the surprise. Many ballads trying to rewrite 'Maps' but with new and interesting elements. Most critics seem to love 'Skeletons' (Pitchfork gave it grade 8, for a mainstream band that's a lot) but I'm really not into it. I just think it takes too long to take off, but anyway it's a small defect in a very good album.

"Dull Life' is just old school YYYs. Strong guitars and drums, lots of screaming. 'Orgasmic' is how a friend described me this track when the album leaked. I think it is a a prefect description.

In 'Runaway', they push harder in new directions. A ballad starting with just piano! Sure it is very different that what you could expect from them, but I see a potential to become a fans favorite. Beautiful!

At first listen, I didn't like 'Hysteric', but it is definitely a grower. In some sense, you find the best balance here the YYYs from 'Maps' and the new dance floor friendly group from 'Heads will roll'. And I always admired the way this bands talks about love, without being too cliche. After "they don't love you I love you" form 'Maps', Karen O sings here 'Flow sweetly, hang heavy, you suddenly complete me'. It's such a touching moment. I just can't get enough of it.

The album closes with 'Little Shadow' where YYYs teach U2 how to aim big without being boring. A song to sing along, to get sentimental, but without losing the personality that was always characteristic of this band. A very nice way to close the album.

But don't think the party is over just yet. Bonus track "Clap Song' is a surprisingly nice pop moment, with strong synths as in 'Zero'. Why do they always do this? Songs this good shouldn't be 'bonus tracks'. 

"Last on the village scene, fall apart, I'm hot, more alive than you've ever been", sings Karen O in 'Dull life'. At age 30, she is at the top of her game and she knows that. With another complex yet accessible pop effort, YYYs might have just become bigger than the sound.

9 out of 10



Gótico said...
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Gótico said...
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Gótico said...
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