THE YEAH Yeah Yeahs entered the music scene with a bum rush of other ‘Garage Rock Revival’ related bands from across the globe; The Hives, The Strokes, The Libertines, The Vines, The White Stripes… you get the picture. The band released four albums over their career before going on hiatus at the end of last year. It’s hard to pinpoint their best release, but some might argue It’s Blitz! stands just above their debut as their most notable work.
It’s Blitz! contains 10 tracks, which can be easily split into two categories; Dance-Rock filled head bangers and softer, toned down pieces where Karen O showboats her vocal skills. This already separates It’s Blitz! from Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones, two albums that were more likely to be viewed as Post-Punk and Alt-Rock respectively. It’s Blitz! changed Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ sound while at the same time surprising their audience’s expectations of what direction they wanted to take.
To a certain extent it’s easy to view this album as that ‘difficult third album’, where a band will go down the route of Electronic music for the hell of it. But what with the album being largely constructed in the studio, by jamming out, cutting and pasting sounds and rhythms together, you get the feeling every song was lovingly constructed. You can see with songs like ‘Hysteric’ and ‘Zero’ where Nick Zinner and Brian Chase have produced funky beats akin to that of Talking Heads (who producer Nick Launay had previously worked with).
One complaint I have about this album lies in the track listing. There are plenty of good tracks to be had; ‘Hysteric’, ‘Dragon Queen’, ‘Runaway’, ‘Skeletons’ and so on. However none, I repeat, NONE, of these tracks have the sheer gravitas of opening tracks ‘Zero’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’. The magnitude of these tracks totally overshadow the remaining songs on the album. The audience is left gasping and sweating after two of the bands best songs. I mean, how is any other song meant to compare to that? NME ranked ‘Zero’ as the best song of 2009, while ‘Heads Will Roll’ is a club favourite. I have always felt that no other song on this album tops those two. That’s not to say that the other tracks aren’t good. ‘Runaway’ is heart wrenching and powerful, ‘Hysteric’ is a very chilled, and surprisingly Metric-esque, while ‘Dull Life’ harks back to the earlier days of Fever to Tell.
It’s Blitz! is possibly the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ best work, at least on par with their debut, but for me, that track listing is a big flaw. Perhaps I’m being petty though; there are some good songs on here, and it’s a shame the follow up, Mosquito, didn’t live up to the hype that It’s Blitz! created. Nevertheless, some of the tracks here will live on for years.
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