April 2, 2009

Test Spin: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have really got pop-rock down, and on It’s Blitz!, they show just how far they’ve come as a band. The production of this album is a lot cleaner than their past releases, but the spark that made YYY so edgy seems to have been subdued in the process. Karen O, YYY’s lead singer and most recognizable member, has cleaned up her vocals, relinquishing her garage-rock self for a more flattering alternative pop image.
The first half of the album is phenomenal, with songs like “Zero” (a typical YYY song) and “Heads Will Roll” (think Apollonia in Purple Rain), but turns to a softer, more restrained version of YYY on the second half. The only song that seems to stand out in this part of the album is “Hysteric”, which shares the ballad quality of “Maps” but is not nearly on the same level.
The evolution of YYY as songwriters is most apparent on this LP, but the qualities that made them unique seem to be lacking. The song that I found to be the most compelling on the album was “Soft Sock,” which combines more progressive musical elements with dynamic vocals. Karen O sings, “What’s the time, what’s the place / Go and leave me.” Although the lead singer has championed herself as a warrior amongst men, she illustrates a softer side to herself with this song. In general, all the tracks seem to be toned down and more mature. It appears, then, that YYY have grown up — but into what? It’s Blitz! shows that this is still to be decided.