Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD review [Interscope]
Apr 16, 2007, 03:35
YEAH YEAH YEAHS Show Your Bones CD
"Gold lion's gonna tell me where the light is/Take our hands out of control"
Uhâ€¦and what the fuck is this? "Look for the purple banana" it is not, but the chunky drumming and mosquito guitars don't bring us any closer to what the hell Karen O is getting at in the opening lines of "Gold Lion,” the first track on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Show Your Bones. Is it something Buddhist perhaps? Maybe a charm necklace spotted in Alphabet City? Modern mulleteer Karen O's slightly choking delivery while sounding like the oddly accented bastard child of Marc Bolan and Elizabeth Frazier makes it all less believable, though she does seem to be pretty convinced that the above couplet is in fact going to weave a web of smoke and mirrors around the listeners and fool them into thinking that this boring and un-grooving crock-pot of halfâ€“baked ideas actually passes for something resembling hip music.
Hell, even the group looks sadly desperate and even a little fatigued on the back booklet photo, as if they wish you'll forgive them for the obvious fact that they have run out of new ideas (borrowed song titles notwithstanding). "Way Out" is a rather clever if somewhat muddled attempt to imitate their homies, Interpol. "Warrior" is a rather whiny pass at acoustic irony, and "Fancy" features some strong guitar and organ playing over which Karen O through clichÃ©d megaphone vocals attempts to sound Bronx tough but instead sounds straight outta Flushing. "Cheated Hearts,” ostensibly a single, has more meaningless and clipped speech dictated over an unmoving beat that attempts to be heartfelt but just turns out to be another bit of gobbledy-gook: "Cheated by the opposite of love/Held on high from up up up above/Kept my high from the second one/Kept my eye on the first one now" Huh? Sadly, this album proves even more so than their previous two that Nick Zinner, whose guitar work throughout is tasteful and works hard to fill in the obvious gaps that he simply cannot make up for, is clearly wasting his time in this band.
Part of the problem with Show Your Bones (which I doubt is neither a vulgar reference to the two men in the band nor an 'Up With Anorexia'-type thing) is that virtually all of the songs move at the same tempo and lack a serious groove of any sort. In other words, you can't dance to it while ignoring the unremarkable inanity of the lyrics. Thus, what we have here is the ultimate in white music; merely made to charm suburban teenage girls with credit cards and who have never heard a Rick James record in their lives. Perhaps that's what sells in this day and age, and even this kind of music has its place, just as Pat Boone, Bobby Sherman, and Shaun Cassidy did, but what exactly is the point of making the audio equivalent of a low sodium saltine? At least Britney Spears had the insight to cover up her flat and nasal hyperventilating with some sick and deep grooves ("I'm A Slave For You") but even Money Mark's minor keyboard contributions to Show Your Bones can't even give this one a shot in the arm, synthesized car alarm imitations notwithstanding and an organ part that just about anyone else could have played.
Sure, man. Sometimes you can indeed fool some of the people some of the time, but the meter has already run out on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and this attempt at some sort of confounding mystical shtick is about as cool as shitting your pants at a board meeting—which someone at Interscope must have done upon hearing this piece of “product.” The best thing I can say about this album is that it's thankfully over in 39 minutes. [Interscope]