Nick Zinner, Brian Chase and Karen O have always been a wild mix of chaos, tenderness, and unflinching passion as they evolve their sound as part of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. More than a decade ago, they landed with a explosive blast on the strength of their proper debut “Fever to Tell,” and from there they’ve become one of the most popular bands in the artsy alternative scene. Each album has delved deeper into uncharted territory,and the band continues to make music that many people can relate to, whether it be dancing, laughing, crying, or anything in between. Today I give you the Top Ten Songs by New York Art Punk dynamo’s, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Enjoy
10. Heads will Roll, It’s Blitz
This album was the first where the band took on an addition of new sounds, and it worked well to say the least. The disco tinged keyboards of “Heads will Roll,” only make the song that much easier to shake your body to, and overall it’s a fun song. Karen’s voice is able spit fire intermittently with a soft purr that makes the choruses that much more light and fun to dance to.
Overall the song reminds me of a futuristic themed dance party where people have just rediscovered the lost days of disco and everyone is searching for a good time.
9. Under the Earth, Mosquito
So many of their tracks are able to capture a feeling that perfectly fits the theme and title of the earth, and our number nine song on the top ten Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs falls into that category perfectly. When I hear “Under Earth,” I imagine diggers plunging their way through the core of the earth, and witnessing all the beauty and sublime darkness that must be prevalent throughout this rich world. he worldwind effects are also a plus here, and the textures used by Zinner only add to the ambient nature of the track. This album may have been slightly less stellar than their previous efforts, but occasionally the record shines. This is one of those shining moments.
8. Art Star, Yeah Yeah Yeahs EP
The buildup is brief, but the explosions on our number eight track are enormous and violent. It’s a reminder of where the band came from, and you instantly get the rough nature of the track. Karen’s voice is screaming bloody murder for a large section of the track, which obviously goes well with the wild drumming and dissonant guitar playing. The song, at a blunt two minutes and one second is a rock pounding into your enemies head, but it also offers a view into a new and promising sound.
7. Phenomena, Show Your Bones
The drumming here is what sets the pace perfectly, and you see the trio swagger into the track with pose so calm and collected that it almost makes you envious. The whole track oozes this rocking yet subdued nature to it, and that’s what draws you in. The lyrics on the number seven Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs are also mind bending and mysterious. “Don’t fall asleep in the moonlight, She’ll make you sleep in the water,” makes me picture the victim being captured by a long lost witch who is bloodthirsty, and by the time you realize what’s happening, it’s too late.
6. Rockers to Swallow, Is Is EP
I never hear this track mentioned, or the EP for that matter, and it’s an untimely shame because all five tracks presented on the project are great, and really capture the spirit of the band in one brief moment. This album was reportedly played in complete darkness during this period of the band, and it fits the album, and this song perfectly. Allowing the music to breathe new life into the stillness of a dark night only adds to the unconforming nature of the band, and I can’t imagine what it must of been like to experience that. I actually wish they’d do more smaller projects like this, not only because of overall power of the songs, but also because it adds a new dimension to the band overall.
5. 10 X 10, Is Is EP
Zinner’s guitar playing has always had this translucent effect to me, and on our number five track of the Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs it’s even more audible than normal. The guitar shine, while Chase’s drums remind you of playing in a dingy club in the middle of the night. Like I mentioned before, this record was performed in total darkness, and this track feeds off of that energy of searching for something when you’re not sure it’s even there. As the end rolls into fruition, Karen O voice is subtle and guarded, and it adds a lovely effect to the raucous yet downbeat track.
4. Maps, Fever to Tell
Like many people, this was my first exposure to this band I now love immensely. The video, which takes place at a type of dance, is still one of the prettiest and most entrancing I’ve ever seen, but a video is only as good as the song it’s helping to portray, and this one is a killer. The softness and beauty in Karen’s voice is more noticeable here than in any other YYY’s track, and all of the elements are used to magnificent measure, and it’s not a shock that the band used this as their calling card. I’d say it worked, and since the massive success the band has been able to give us even more awesome music.
3. Dull Life, It’s Blitz
Sometimes a song has such a good buildup you get lost in it way too quickly. That was the case for me with our the third greatest song on the Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs list. The tracks whirls and jumps in and out, and the attitude and quickness is very clear. The whole song has this sort of ability to make you move, but it’s also a great sing a long. Those things don’t happen too often, but when they do, it’s wonderful. Zinner’s guitar once again adds a layer of uncertainty, and towards the conclusion it’s O’s voice that perfectly helps the buildup and explosive ending to the song.
2. Cheated Hearts, Show Your Bones
This song came to me during a turbulent time in my life, and in all honesty, it probably helped me more than most songs of that time. It’s for that reason the song lands at number two on our list. The opening of the guitar sets the tone, but quickly enough we’re treated to the wonderfully clear voice of O, and that’s when, with the addition of Brian Chase’s drums, it all comes together. For me the song has always been about walking away and starting over, even if it’s not at all. This album is full of various effects and tones, but it’s “Cheated Hearts” that has always stood out to me as the best, most passionate track on the record.
1. Y Control, Fever to Tell
This song always makes me think of a early sunshine fire in the sky, and with the brilliance of Nick’s guitar, it’s easy to witness the start to a day that might see the world engulfed in flames. That’s not to say this is an overly aggressive track, but the imagery of dawn and the pinks and purples that come to our sky has always gone hand in hand with me when thinking about the number one. The lyrics are determined and on a clear path of knowledge, but the song is only so great because of the ability of all three parts of the band to marry themselves perfectly to the others. Off the magnificent “Fever To Tell,” the number one track by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Y Control.”
See you Monday
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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