It’s Blitz!

The new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album It’s Blitz! was released digitally this week, much earlier than the original April 14th release date because the album leaked to the internet a couple weeks ago. Not able to resist anything new by the YYYs, I ahem… happened upon it and have been pretty much going between it and the new Neko Case since. I bought the official release, and other than the moral obligation to give artists your money, the extra tracks are completely worth it.

The advance word on the album is that It’s Blitz! would be the YYYs + synth album, and also their “love” album. It is both those things in the best way possible. When it comes to velocity, nothing else on the album compares to the disco punk glitter ball of the first single “Zero”. The pulsing synth line mixed with Nick Zinner’s guitar is pretty enthralling. “Heads Will Roll” might be the least cheesy new wave throwback ever. This is because the synth lines and melody are so genuine. But, the rest of the album is quieter and more subtle. Songs like “Hysteric” are actually gorgeous, genuine synth-pop love songs. “Skeltons” takes the synths and makes them a quiet bed for Karen to sing over. “Little Shadow” starts with a quiet organ and acoustic guitar. Marshall style drums come in and build, adding emotional weight to an already affecting song, which finally ends in Karen wordless hum. During “Dull Life”, Nick Zinner makes his guitar playing as plaintive as “Maps”. They also change the funk up a little during “Dragon Queen”, which is a slinky 70’s literal callback to Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing”. Karen O largely puts away her singing tics and simply sings. And, she sounds lovely throughout. It’s no surprise really that a singer who can mew and huff and yelp like she did on Fever To Tell has a real voice behind it. I think it’s Karen O’s unmistakable charisma that makes this a distinctly Yeah Yeah Yeahs album. And, the impeccable quality of the songwriting. If you think what I say is hyperbolic bullshit, check out the four bonus acoustic versions at the end of the album. they should really be called “string versions”, because in addition to acoustic guitars, the songs have been arranged for strings. They’re gorgeous. I might actually prefer the acoustic version of “Soft Shock” to the original. This album is another step forward. Adding synths and love songs only added colors to an already colorful band. It’s clear this is a band that will kick your fucking ass, get you on the dancefloor, tug at your heart, and do it all with a rare artistic quality.

Great album cover too:

Official website link with video for “Zero”.

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