Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When Will Yeah Yeah Yeahs Have Their Album Moment?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' third LP, It's Blitz!, came out a few weeks back and it's sporting awesome album art and some pretty rollicking jams. Much has been made of the more synth-heavy sound for this record. That really got me excited at first, as I think this band's synth based songs are usually a lot more fun than the more straightforward guitar-driven numbers (I'm counting guitar synths as synths in this analysis). Have they ever recorded anything better than "Rich"? No, they have not.

For my money, this album doesn't sound like too much of a departure from the band's previous output. I think it's probably their strongest record to date, but I'm starting to wonder: are Yeah Yeah Yeahs ever going to release a classic, start-to-finish fantastic album? So far they've got three pretty good albums, but not a single one I want to listen to from beginning to end. It's not to say it'll never happen--this band is still fairly young, though by today's standards they can seem like dinosaurs--but when will Yeah Yeah Yeahs put out their Village Green Preservation Society, their Happy Hippopotamus, their Dutchess?* I hope we see it eventually, but if not, there's always the inevitable greatest hits collection.

Let us know what you think in the comments: can this band deliver a truly great album? Is this the one and I'm just not hearing it yet?

*Just kidding about The Dutchess. Sort of.

It's Blitz! Review [The L Mag]


Doug Keller said...

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been one of those bands that has been a part of my subconscious for years, meaning I knew they existed, even knew they were supposedly making good music (and I had heard "Maps" and I liked it), but couldn't handle the hype or buzz or whatever the kids call it these days and ignored them. I have this weird aversion to bands that everyone is talking about and I also live in a cave of old music, where my instinct is there's too much back there to work through to pay attention to anything but the greatest of what's new...

(or maybe I'm just not cool enough to like "cool" music, and if the Yeah Yeah Yeahs can be called anything, it's cool. That Karen O intimidates the shit out of me...)

My point is that for whatever reason, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs moved out of the recesses of my subconscious and into my consciousness a few weeks ago. I'm in a period of intense music-listening, trying to pull myself away from the biases that have clearly kept me from a lot of great stuff (have you heard of this band The Arcade Fire!? how about Fleet Foxes? Amiright?), and I gotta say, coming to it mostly fresh almost six years after its release, Fever to Tell stands out big time within all this stuff. It's hard to say this without getting into the always interesting "what makes a classic, especially these days" conversation and laying out certain value-structures, but I gotta say that Fever to Tell kind of feels like one.

Ben said...

I don't want to get into what makes a classic, that's as subjective as what goes in your canon. I feel you on the "I slept on YYYs" tip--I didn't feel them until I saw them play for free a couple summers ago. Karen O. will convert you. That album's probably their most vital, but I find it totally lopsided. It's actually a toss-up for me between that one and Show Your Bones. Also, I'd like to take back that business about "I think [It's Blitz is] probably their strongest record to date" because now, going back through the catalog, it's just plainly not. Better than I thought it'd be though!