The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Cool It Down
In 2003, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs burst onto the music scene in the wake of an indie renaissance kicked off by the Strokes; their debut, Fever to Tell was everything listeners could have expected from a band that counted among their influences the Stooges and Richard Hell: immediate, fierce and intoxicating. Following a record loved by practically everyone wasn’t easy, and 2004’s Show Your Bones played as a safe continuance to what the band had introduced on their first outing. It took another four years to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs transmuting from indie rockers to disco heroes; on 2009’s It’s Blitz, synths took a prominent role, momentarily replacing Nick Zinner’s guitar, which reclaimed its place on the band’s fourth record, Mosquito, a return to the band’s classic formula of sharp-as-a-knife tracks.
It comes as no surprise that the announcement of a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album was welcomed with great anticipation. Cool It Down (out today on Secretly Canadian) is a work where the band looks forward and ventures into new realms. It’s also a record that can be danced to, despite the bleakness of some tracks. On Burning, which champions the Four Seasons’s Beggin’, and Different Today, where Karen O claims that “the world keeps spinning out of control”, the music feels like a harmonious counterpart to the dismal lyrics.
On Cool It Down, Perfume Genius’s influence seems to extend further than its featuring on the first single, Spitting off the Edge of the World: his experimental vision resonates in every track, from Wolf to Fleez and on Blacktop, an electro ballad that is perhaps the best song on the record. There are also moments reminiscent of Karen O’s work with Modest Mouse on Lux Prima; the cinematic feel that permeates Spitting off the Edge of the World and the ethereal sounds of Lovebomb have blossomed directly from their collaboration.
Even if, compared with Fever to Tell, Cool It Down sounds like a completely different album, ultimately, both works share the band’s trademark. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a New York group, and their songs still reverberate with that unmistakable city sound that took us by storm on their debut: it’s in the coda of Blacktop and in Taste from Hell, destined to become a live favourite alongside old classic Heads Will Roll.
The album closes with Mars, a spoken-word track where Karen O recalls seeing the ocean with her son. It’s a tender moment in a record that often juxtaposes sweetness and bitterness.
Cool It Down marks a triumphant return for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a definite leap forward for a band that has always chosen to gaze at the future rather than the past.
Photo: Jason Al-Taan
Cool It Down is released on 30th September 2022. For further information or to order the album visit The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Burning here: