Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Cool It Down track by track review
We check out the Yeah Yeah Yeahs first album in nine years, Cool It Down.
Date published: 30th Sep 2022
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were influential in pushing rock music into the 21st Century. In a wave of bands that included The Strokes and Interpol, New York was at the centre of an American rock scene that would go on to influence modern indie rock as we know it. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's had Karen O too, a fearless and provocative performer with a distinguishable voice.
Whilst there had been female-fronted bands before her, Karen O was a liberating presence and inspired a lot of the talented women we see in rock music today. We thought we'd dive into their latest album Cool It Down which is their first in nine years.
Spitting Off the Edge of the World (featuring Perfume Genius)
Right off the bat, we're hit by a striking wave of synth that feels completely otherworldly. Karen O's voice returns and its familiarity is reassuring, as she combines with the voice of Perfume Genius. Everything here feels amped up to the max, each part of the instrumentation is suitably dramatic. It's a liberating start to the album, the kind of song that makes you feel empowered for no obvious reason, but you could probably run a mile.
The start of this song feels like we're floating in space, as if we were cast off debris. An oddly beautiful feeling, you just want to dive further and further into the sound. Karen O beckons you to "come close" as synth-like rays envelop you completely. It speaks to the nature of feeling completely knocked into your own orbit by the relationships that mean the most.
They're definitely going for a sci-fi feeling on this album. Everything feels as though it didn't originate on Earth. Karen's vocals reach their trademark yearning sound. "In heaven, lost my taste for hell" she sings before we're knocked back completely back by a tornado of sound. Becoming a wolf-like character, it becomes a metaphor for how much she needs the touch and taste of someone.
There are some phenomenal drumming sections that feel like an attack on the senses, the Yeah yeah Yeahs have your full attention throughout.
The guitars on this song growl at you in a mixture of heady distortion. "The wilderness becoming my addiction" Karen O describes. The way her vocals change from hushed and quiet to barking and commanding from one line to the next is part of what makes her such an enthralling entertainer, there's nobody else that sounds quite like her.
It almost feels like we're entering operatic rock at points in this album, the stakes feel so high, as after all aren't love and desire some of the most emotionally convulsive parts of our lives? Burning keeps up with this and the string sections feel phenomenal as Karen O teases you by saying "What you going to do? What you going to do?"
A track that is set to the rhythm of scattered percussion sections and centres around Karen O's voice, it has a haunting sense of intrigue to it. It's more of a slow burner but is no less effective than the rest of the album.
With her voice originally obscured, it bracingly comes up to pitch as Karen O leads us on another cosmic journey of love and heartbreak. She wants to say what she really wants to say to this person, to get rid of all of what is repressed. It feels like you're dancing right underneath a disco ball.
Suitably, we finish our journey on Mars. A more stripped back makes it feel as though Karen O has suddenly become the voice in our head. The song slowly filters the album out.
Cool It Down is the type of album that feels like an experience. Here we are, for 32 minutes, taken on a journey beyond Earth that is soundtracked by hypnotic synths, space-raiding guitar sections and sweeping violins that propel us forward. The Yeah Yeah yeahs have returned with a concise effort that is packed with drama and deeper thoughts about the ways in which love can make us feel like we're spinning out of control, for better or worse.
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