There's one word in the English language that music fans tend to cower in fear of : hype. You tire of magazines of NME, claiming a new "saviors of rock" ever other month. You can just imagine the reviewer lightly wading from one foot to the other, reminding you of a 2 year old child with an overactive blatter. Hype has killed careers before they could even get started, i.e. Liz Phair. Hyper has also made careers, i.e. The Strokes or the White Stripes. With the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, though, we won't be able to tell what section we should lump them in. Hopefully, it will be more about the music than fashion or popularity.
Fever to Tell
seems as if you were walking down the coolest ghetto in the world. Nick Zinner's guitar roars like a garbage truck, rumbling, and out of nowhere, roaring fumes right into your face as it drives by. Brian Chase sounds as if he's drumming on trash cans and other assorted objects lyring around an alley, thrashing about while keeping the beat for the rest of the band, and quite possibly making you dance. Over top of all of the noise and pounding, there's Karen O. wailing, moaning, growling, screaming, crooning, whatever it is, she does it like a the sexiest thing that could rip your face off if you get to close. As all of the other bands lumped into the "garage rock" genre, they have little in common with the rest of the bunch. There sound is quite intriguing, even if you don't enjoy their music.
"Rich," "Date With the Night," "Man," "Tick,"
and "Black Tongue"
(hand claps!) are all sleazy, guitar driven romps through New York City. These songs are quite the exact opposite of the single "Maps"
although underwritten, (which is, sadly, the problem with a few songs on this album) sports a psuedo-blues riff that repeats throughout, with Karen. O shouting lines like "I got a man that makes me want to kill," and I can't help but believe her. "Tick,"
as is "Man,"
is sadly underdeveloped, although extremely danceable, is just boring, and annoying (although funny when she squeals "tick" over and over). Other than those two, the firrst half of the album is a rather good representation of their garage sound.
The second half of Fever to tell
seems like a whole 'nother side of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, for the most part, as if two EPs had been crammed together. "Pin"
starts out with a very catchy octave chord pattern, with rather tamed drums coming in. Karen O. delivers hear, especially during the chorus, which turns very hard. It's rather short, too, at just about 2 minutes. "Cold Light"
is just about the only song on here I will say is "bad" and leave it at that, but it does offer some tempo changes that seem interesting, to me. "No No No,"
an obviously self-aware title, is a fantastic song, until it delves into noise and completey ruins the song that began so great. It is definately a low(er) point of the album, even though it isn't necessarily a bad song. I nominate it for containing one of the best drums beats of 2003, though.
"Maps," "Y Control,"
and "Modern Romance"
are the best song on the album, and definately represent a progression into a sound that they Y3's may continue with. Each is bursting with emotion, as the rest of the album seemed to have lacked anything but lust and anger. "Maps"
has absolutely one of the most affecting choruses I have ever heard, and although "Y Control"
is still fairly reminiscent of the garage sound, it bounces like none of the other songs could. Karen O.'s vocal performance is top notch on these songs, singing "I wish I could buy back, the woman you stole". The best Yeah Yeah Yeahs song, in my opinion. "Modern Romance" drones on, as is obviously the most plaintive and depressing song on this album. The droning almost seems Velvet Underground-esque, but remains a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. A great way to end an album.
In conclusion, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have offered up good record. Although there are many flaws present, when they do shine, the shine like no other. It seems as if they are progressing and sounding better throughout the album, and I hope the progress farther. They definately have potential, and it's hard to decide whether I should give this a 3.5 or a 4. Eat your hearts out, (insert random 3rd or 4th wave, boring and talentless garage rock band here)