Off with your head/Dance ’til you’re dead/Heads will roll/On the floor
Poppy, catchy, fun, mainstream, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Wait, what? Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the salute to alternative “Fuck yous,” featuring Karen O’s polarizing yelps and Zinner’s grunge “chainsaw” guitar, not some run of the mill pop band. Surprise, Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans, It’s Blitz! is not what you were expecting. It’s better.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a way of reinventing themselves, which can be both frustrating and refreshing at the same time. In their latest album, it is best to approach the short 10-track 40-minute as two EPs; the first half of the album is the Blitz! to which the title refers, whereas the second half is sweetly aching alternative, like a softer version of Forever to Tell and Show Your Bones.
“Zero” opens up It’s Blitz! with a throwback to the eighties. Sixteenth synth pulses accompany O’s commands “get your leather leather leather on on on on.” The song then explodes into a celebration of synth hook pop. “Zero” is a great starter for It’s Blitz!, not because it’s a particularly original song (au contraire, it would fit very well into an underground rave), but because it sets the listener up for the dance anthem for the Facebook generation.
“Heads Will Roll” is fantastic pop. It’s charged with bass and keyboard and flash, commanding marches from O’s aggressive (albeit redundant) lyrics, and originality. Headed towards a spot on the Top 40, “Heads Will Roll” sums up what’s new about the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s style: they’re snappy pop, alternative dance, awesome listening.
The following two tracks, “Softshock” and “Skeletons,” come desperately close to “Maps,” but offer a more sophisticated version and less obnoxious chorus. “Skeletons” highlights the ability of Yeah Yeah Yeahs to be delicate. The track has beautiful builds and soft letdowns, as O coos, “Love my name/Love left dry/Frost or flame/Skeleton me.” The marching drums allows for layers of gentle synths to set a zen feel. Buy this song.
After “Dull Life” (which certainly isn’t dull), the album switches over to a grungier version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. “Runaway,” the seventh track on It’s Blitz!, is a plea for love over strings and a mesh of sound, whereas “Dragon Queen” funks the band out (not nearly as good as the other tracks on this album), as “Little Shadow” cradles the listener and lays them down to sleep behind synths and a heavy bass drum. Unfortunately, the second half of this album doesn’t scream “LISTEN!” like the first half does. However, it is certainly worth exploring, especially if the listener is an oldtime Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan.
Certainly, It’s Blitz! is different than Show Your Bones and Fever to Tell, but the transformation is fantastic.
Recommended Songs: Buy this album