Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It’s Blitz
Posted by blink on Mon, 03 Aug 2009.
‘It’s Blitz!’ is the third album release of New York based trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Comprising of vocalist ‘Karen O’, drummer Brian Chase, and guitarist turned synth player Nick Zinner. In traditional Yeah Yeah Yeahs style, the newest album release differs in flavour to that of previous records. While the first album ‘Fever to Tell’ (2003) was filled with hard hitting, guitar lead punk prowess, their second album release, ‘Show Your Bones’ (2006) was mainly acoustic, emotional ballads. With their latest release, the album direction has changed again, this time favouring synths and comprising of songs more suited to filling dancefloors and discos than anything they have previously recorded, but still somehow sounding distinctively Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
The bold opening to the album is also the first single released from the album. ‘Zero’ starts slowly, building up gradually and eventually hitting hard with heavy synth riffs, and Karen O’s once again fantastic euphoric vocals. She screams ‘you’re a zero, what’s your name, no ones gonna ask you’ and repeated pleas for you to ‘Get your leather on.’ For me, Zero was an instant hit, memorable lyrics allow for instant sing along potential, and the dance style of the track makes you want to get up, sing along, and have a good dance, a great opener to the album.
The next track follows suit. ‘Heads Will Roll’ takes the dancefloor style of Zero, and cranks it up a notch. Again starting gradually with mysterious backing synthesiser sounds, and almost haunting singing of Karen O, chanting ‘Off with your head, dance till you’re dead.’ Drum beats kick in, and the vocals gain pace until a crescendo of electronic ecstasy is reached, and the repeating of ‘Off with your head, dance, dance till you’re dead, Heads will roll, Heads will roll, Heads will roll, on the floor’ signal a dancefloor classic. Heads will roll is a high energy pop anthem, and after just the first two songs of the album, you realise the new sound of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and by this time, I loved it more than ever before.
It is probably a blessing that the next two songs are slower paced and of a different approach, after the amount of energy in the first two tracks. ‘Softshock’ and ‘Skeletons’ are the deeper, slower highlights of the album. Skeletons especially is reminiscent of ‘Maps’ from their first album, bringing moments of calm and emotion amidst the chaos of the rest of the album. The lingering lyrics barely rise above a whisper as guitars and drums softly echo as a backdrop; a stark comparison to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs of 2003 and the punk fuelled Fever to Tell.
Following Skeletons, the album again begins to rise in pace, but never to the extent of the opening singles. The next highlight of the album for me personally comes at track 9, with ‘Hysteric’. The lyrics give a lingering romance to this mid-tempo ballad. The song begins with Karen O’s longing voice ‘The cinders the cinders, they light the path, of these strange steps take us back take us back’ and finishing with ‘You suddenly complete me’ and the repetition of ‘Hysteric, hysteric, hysteric, hysteric, hysteric, hysterical.’ Hysteric is one of my favourite tracks from the album, and while in contrast to my other favourites, Zero and Heads Will Roll, offers emotion and romance while still being catchy and upbeat.
After listening to the album through, it is clear that once again Yeah Yeah Yeahs have changed their musical focus. ‘Its Blitz!’ is full of dancefloor inspired electro styled pop but still manages to pack in a few high tempo anthems, making you want to rock and dance and sing along, but also maintains moments of reflection and romance.
While it is not my favourite album of theirs, it still is fantastic listening and is very well put together, leading you on a journey through the contrasting styles and paces of the tracks. Many of the tracks appear to have more of a mainstream appeal than previous albums had, and I can see ‘Zero’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’ being heard across dance floors for a long time. The band has successfully overhauled their music style once again, but have still kept their attitude and the album still remained distinctively theirs. ‘It’s Blitz’ proved a very successful experiment in my eyes, but only time will tell if this sound is once again changed, should the band release another album. (And judging on past records, this is very likely!)