Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Deep Cuts From Bloggy's Vault: Art Rock

Fever To Tell
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' debut Fever To Tell released in 2003 and Show Your Bones from 2006 both deliver a synthesis of back-to-basics rock 'n roll with a focus on talent and message instead of over-produced pop and vapid hype. The unique talents of guitarist Nick Zinner and the amazing depth, power and genuine personal warmth of vocalist Karen "O" Orzolek make the YYY's worth a second look.

The YYY's are stand-outs in something of an eruption of recent rock bands. This high-energy sound includes The Strokes, The Hives and The Vines. They share a common musicial heritage and overlap of influences that includes Punk godfather Iggy Pop as well as nods to their contemporaries, The White Stripes.

The YYY's first two albums raise enough eyebrows to also raise some interesting questions:

#1, What's wrong with the real mess that you are? Have you compared it to a thin, self-loathing construction that means absolutely nothing? Lookit Karen O's genuine ups-and-downs versus Britney Spears or Micheal Jackson's plastic "perfection".

#2, Is the nature of glamour monsterous? If expectations of entertainment are taken to the absurd - would anyone recognize it? Overblown, over-inflated plastic corporate conglomerations Madonna, Britney, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Lady Gaga are just a colorful forms of elevator music taking your mind off problems like a hypnotist's bauble.

#3, Exterior vs. Interior identity issues are expressed in the music and performances: How could indentity be something worn bodily when you have real anthems that shatter every illusion? If these anthems, either of your own making or that you choose, pretty much define everything else in your life - who needs short-lived superficiality? Can you drape a paper bag over a cannonball and make it into groceries?

This is one of those times when the questions are a lot more fun than pre-packaged answers. Not many bands ever get this kind of message across - and they definitely aren't doing it over shredding, punctuated guitars with a wry smile, a playfull wink, or a carefully measured cry from a female singer who oozes sensuality, charm and playfullness.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Rich.mp3 (4.3mb)

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