Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Since the early 2000’s, or “oughts” as I like to call them, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs could do no wrong in my book.  EP after LP after LP after EP, I fell in love with everything this band released.  Every CD managed to distinguish itself from the others while still holding onto the signature sound that Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase originally created.  They brought the term “art punk” to the mainstream and sent hordes of women from 15 to 30 searching for the perfect leggings to compliment their Chuck Taylors and miniskirts.  I feared and knew there would eventually be a day when I would finally have something unflattering to say about the YYYs.  Unfortunately, that day is today.  Because for as good as It’s Blitz really is, to me it just doesn’t measure up to previous releases.

With the exception of “Dull Life,” there really are no callbacks to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs older sound.  And from the feel of the album’s opener and lead single, “Zero,” it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that the band had put together a dance album.  In reality though, only “Heads Will Roll” (which sounds more like a remix of a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song) and “Dragon Queen” (a track that could’ve just as easily ended up on a CSS album) give off that impression.  A good chunk of the record finds the band a little more subdued, replacing Karen O’s growls and Zinner’s chaotic guitar play with more keyboards, horns, and orchestral arrangements, giving off a much more airy and relaxed sense than seen in previous releases.  And for as interesting as this could be, the songs simply don’t catch my ears in the same way they used to.  To be fair though, this new style does work and peak on “Runaway,” a track that takes the place that “Maps” did on Fever To Tell and “Cheated Hearts” on Show Your Bones.  It also, in my opinion, is the best display of Karen O’s vocals since “Maps,” allowing her to both emote and remain subtle in her delivery.

Now before you run off claiming that I hated this album, let me set the record straight.  This is a really good record.  I do like it and there’s a decent chance it will end up as one of my top ten of the year.  The Yeah Yeah Yeahs just happen to be one of those bands that I always expect near perfection out of.  If I hear their album and don’t immediately think it’s great, I tend to be a little disappointed.  So once again for the record, I did like It’s Blitz.  But In my opinion, if you’re just getting into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I would start with another release.  Although, Pitchfork did give this one a better review than both of their other full-lengths, so what the hell do I know.

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