21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2006
First, I'd like to thank God or whichever other-worldly being gave us Karen O and all her crazy amazing antics.
Show Your Bones is hardly Fever To Tell, but that's not a bad thing at all. On their 2nd release the YYY's sound a little tamed down, more mature, and slightly more focused.
There's something for everyone to like here. Fans of their debut album will feel right at home with tracks like "Cheated Hearts" (which is almost like a more subtle Y Control) then there's the extremely catchy first single, "Gold Lion" with it's sing-along chorus and sticks-in-your-head backing percussion. Speaking of which, the percussion is excellent all around on this cd, definitely one of the first things that caught my attention. If you buy this cd thinking it'll have all those signature Karen O shrieks and howls, you might be a little disappointed. But hopefully you'll give it a chance despite that, because this new slightly more calm Karen is just as appealing. It doesn't sound as if they're taking their 'old' sound and making it more quiet, it just sounds like they're controlling it much better and more artistically. It sounds like a really smart, well thought out progression- and although different, just as interesting to listen to.
"Fancy" will remind you of Fever To Tell, if anything for Karen's vocals here. There's a lot of new interesting experimental sounds, the obligatory ambiguous lyrics...generally just a lot to like.
"Way Out" - 2nd track off the cd following "Gold Lion", and appropriately so. she says "The face aint making what the mouth needs", and it's slick and jarring and you'll want to play it over and over. Definitely one of their best songs to date.
"Honeybear" - electro-punk rock YYY's style, if this song doesn't get you bobbing your head, something is seriously wrong. I don't even know what she's saying a lot of the time but it's great!
"Mysterious" - a fast paced nod to all the great rock of the past, sung almost 50's-60's style until she starts her awesome screaming. grabs a hold and makes you listen.
"Warrior" - this mystical and slightly lonely tamborine number almost recalls Mazzy Star circa "So Tonight That I Might See" in the beginning, minus...well, Hope Sandoval obviously. Karen says men might like her because she's a Warrior, then there's talk of roads and rivers, and travelling it all away. Shows a different side to the YYY's... mellow and introspective, definitely one of the strongest songs. Very good stuff.
"Turn Into" - Love it, love it, love it. Great way to finish off an extremely catchy & interesting cd. "Can't say why I kept this from ya / my those quiet eyes become ya" - when she sings this, it's endearing and cute and lovely.
I can't say that when I was first introduced to the YYY's I ever expected to hear honest, humble admissions. Let alone really catchy yet subtle melodies and choruses that bury themselves beneath my skin. But now I have, and it's most definitely an experience worth sharing and recommending to anyone who's a fan of just great rock music. There really isn't a bad song on the whole album.
With "Show Your Bones" the YYYs solidify their presence on the rock scene, and undeniably carve out their own signature slot void of any "PJ Harvey-Meets the White Stripes" comparisons.
37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
This one of those CD's that every song is brilliant from the first song Golden Lion to the eleventh and last song Turn into. It's hard for me to pick a favorite sone because they are all outstanding.
There are some songs that remind me of the band White Stripes in terms of their sound and style. Some of the vocal styling that Karen uses also reminds me of Kate Pierson of the B52's and Debbie Harry of Blondie, but by and large their sound is unique to them.
Karen has toned down her vocals somewhat and I think that works very well for her and the band on this CD, she has a beautiful voice. On the cut Cheated Hearts she has a very sultry sexy style that really makes the song work. Brian Chase plays the drums in a style that really lends a backbone to the songs and Nick Zinner is great on keyboards and guitar All of the songs have a nice soul and passion to them and each song has its own personality to it. The music on the CD is very well done. This is a three musician band that has that kind of eclectic style that you get with three piece band but Brian Chase, Nick Zinner and Karen O's styles mesh so well together that their sound is so much bigger then that even in their live performances. It's an amazing blend instruments timing with the occasional random sound thrown in that makes the CD so interesting to listen to.
There is a nice booklet that comes with it that has pictures of different hand made flags, envelopes that someone has drawn on with some interesting personal art and a thank you to everyone that created a flag.
The CD mastered and engineered in a way that really highlights the bands style.
This is the best new release that I have come across in a while in the art-avant-punk-genre.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2006
The Yeah Yeah Yeah's are really coming into their own on `Show Your Bones', their sophomore release for Interscope records. Moving solidly beyond their early sound, which was immediately something all their own, the band are solidifying their reputation as rock critic darlings, more than that they are proving that they lead the pack. The YYY's have always had sonic experimentation down to a `T', but lacked something in songwriting (with a few notable exceptions such as "Modern Romance/Porcelain"). Here it seems they've toned downed the former somewhat, in order to focus more on the latter. This must be what has caused a legion of indie snobs to baulk at how the YYY's have "sold out" or "lost their edge." Well, you hear this argument for basically every band in history that ever broke through from cult status. It is an old - and almost always groundless - argument and I really just find it boring. In the words of The Libertines "I get along/just singing my song/people tell me I'm wrong.../f*#k `em."
By now everyone knows "Gold Lion" (if you don't then I'm not sure how you happened upon this review). The song structure is perhaps the simplest in the YYY's catalogue, with the four chord progression continuing straight through the whole song without changing. Karen`s exquisite "ooh ooh`s" undoubtedly cement it`s lead single status. The solo is simplistic by Nick Zinner's standards, but that doesn't stop it from blasting off at you like a rocket ship. This is another psychedelic "pop" masterpiece from those who brought you "Maps."
"Fancy" starts out with pounding drums that immediately draw you in. Twenty seconds in the drums are joined by slow, heavy, pounding guitar chords that sound like if Sonic Youth covered a Link Wray instrumental. Then Karen joins in "I find it in the atlas/we're flipping over old news/check what's in the trash bag/we're just another part of you/we're just another part of you/I beg your pardon/beg your pardon/beg your pardon..." before letting loose a scream to rival "Art Star." This goes on for two verses before an incredibly liquid-sounding wah wah effect introduces the quieter bridge which serves as only a short hiatus before launching back to the slashing guitar and pounding drums of the intro, which slam you right home. This song is hardly being mentioned in reviews, which is criminal as it's one of the best on the album.
Next up we find Karen singing with her by now trademark charismatic self-assured attitude. Is she talking about herself in the chorus, or sarcastically putting someone down? Either way it's immediately a favorite and you can't help singing along with "you're something like a phenomena baby/something like a phenomena." The guitar here is almost brain-dead simple, in the tradition of early Neil Young - especially in the middle part of the song where Nick just keeps rhythmically hitting the same note about 50 times in a row.
"Honeybear" opens spectacularly with the bass drum pounding out a beat and Karen singing "turn yourself around/you weren't invited/good good things happen in bad towns" backed by a guitar that just doubles the melody she's singing, until the whole band crashes in and rocks along to the bridge. Brian Chase shows great chops in the middle breakdown, sounding like an heir to Charlie Watts' throne.
"Warrior" begins as a gentle, catchy acoustic ballad, but slowly speeds up and builds to anthemic status by the end. It also boasts perhaps the greatest lyrics Karen O has yet to pen.
"Now the strangers have caught on
And they're riding in the backseat.
The river's gonna watch all,
Yeah the river it spoke to me.
It told me I'm small,
And I swallowed it down.
If I make it at all,
I'll make you want me."
The most popular translation of the "strangers riding in the backseat" is that of people who finally caught on when the band hit it big with singles like "Maps" and now "Gold Lion," versus those of us who have championed the band from the first EP. However, I think the whole song is about the record industry. The strangers are really record execs who must have screwed the YYY's over in the past, when now they've turned out to be a success. Of course, not such a success as to rival pop giants that make record companies the real money, therefore the record industry here is the "river" telling Karen not to get a big head yet, she still is a relatively small fish.
"I know what I know" Karen tells us in the closer, "Turn Into." What is it that she knows? "I'd like to tell you all about it..." but she's interrupted by a simple Nick Zinner solo, augmented by an otherworldly fuzz effect that sounds like the noise you'd expect a UFO to make. His electric rhythm guitar work here is amazing as well, it took The Edge at least 10 years to get half this good. This is another slower, ballad-esque tune and closes the album perfectly.
When this first came out, the songs were so addicting it didn't leave my car's CD player for weeks. Now, months later, I am still listening to it in steady rotation. I may not have mentioned every track, but they are all good. The songwriting is much better and the musicianship, which has also been light years ahead of any of their contemporaries, is getting even more adventurous while at the same time getting simpler, if that were possible. A more pretentious music snob than myself would just complain that they've sold out, and proceed to list all the indie/underground bands that you've never heard of which the YYY's have supposedly "ripped off" (and I see quite a few indie snobs have done just that) but I prefer to let myself just enjoy damn good music when I hear it. Anyway, just listening to this album is enough every time to make me want to go postal worker on my boss for not letting me have the night off when these guys came to Cleveland last. There's no way I'm missing them next time around.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2006
But I am an old dude. A lot of todays music is taken (borrowed) from the recent past. Im in love with this album, but must give props to the appropriate mentors.
Number 1 being Souixxe and the banshees. I hear them in every note and somewhat in her voice. Great stuff though. I am partial to the original band, but this derivative, influence, and or just love of the band has great impact on their sound. History in music comes in 5 years of memory. I am so happy that, and not sure, they meant a tribute to Souixxe. All together a great melodic trip, and very powerful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2006
My first sample from this new album disappointed me a great deal.As a maniacal fan of everything that comes with the uniqueness of the YYY's original sound,the thinned out double-vocals(very Avril-esque),the spilled-out meandering sound,and overall flatness of Gold Lion quite convinced me that the YYY's were officially Over.Then I thought that those are my exact initial thoughts about every follow-up album I've ever listened to:'the uniqueness has been waxed over for a more generic and consistent sound'.Comparisons with the first album never get you anywhere.So let me tell you,this album will leach into you like nothing else.Give certain songs mulitple listens,consider the lyrics and the vastness of mood that's been decidedly introduced into this poignant (i should be beaten for using that word,shouldn't i?),awesome album and you'll again fall in love with the YYY's bravery.The use of computerization on some tracks here have not in any way subverted the YYY's genre,it is still very purely rock.Or,it still sounds that way.
Well,my only recommendation here is that if you're a big fan of the YYY's (my theory is it'll take a lot of attachment to understand what they're doing here better),however excited or skeptical,find a large-ish sampling of mp3's (shouldn't be hard,they're everywhere) and do some thinking.My suggestions are:Modern Things,Mysteries,Dudley, and I'm thoroughly convinced that Cheated Hearts is likely the most beautiful song the YYY's or anyone really could ever have written.It makes my head hurt,it is so amazing and simple.Check it out,it's a good album,and even if you don't like all the songs,you're completely bound to love at least a few as the genre of the separate song themselves is surprisingly (in a great way) varied.It may seem,at first impression,rather anemic and overly melodic,but that could not be farther from any kind of truth.Some songs are very vocals/lyric oriented,others are still deranged and guitar-driven.It really is more deep and vast and really quite beautiful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2006
Show your bones is definitely a more melodic and less punky album than Fever To Tell, but it's just as likely to grab a hold of you. As always, critics and fans are hesitant to embrace this new sound because it's different than the previous directions the YYYs have taken, and likely because such a high bar was set for the band when Rolling Stone compared their innovative sound and style to the impact the Velvet Underground had on the 60s garage scene.
Show Your Bones showcases how the band is continuing to grow into itself. The driving counterpoint between the vocals and guitar is more powerful and effortless than ever before, and Karen O has taken her creative vocals to another level, using her trademark screams, moans, cries, and whispers less for emphasis and shock and more as melodic tools. The result is a sound that fits so well together; songs that are melodically simple but remarkably compelling.
The most interesting songs on the album are Phenomenon, Warrior, and Cheated Hearts. Phenomenon showcases some surprising hard rock/blues guitar style, contrasting with siren-like moaning. Warrior showcases almost alt-country song style and mournful story-telling, another suprising style choice.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs always have a song on each album that includes self-referential commentary on how the media and their fans seem to be perceiving them. On their self-titled EP this song was Our Time, and its anthem was "it's the time to be hated; I'm glad that we made it". The corresponding song on Show Your Bones is Cheated Hearts, and its anthem is, "I think that I'm bigger than the sound!" I have to agree.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2006
It's all too common to see elitists get in a tizzy about defining the music of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The swirl of snooty postmodern scene chuckery whorling up from New York City like smog has a habit of clouding people's minds and judgements, probably in part because of the fact that in the sea of up and coming stripped-down rock bands there are oftentimes 25 "Vines" (crap) for every "Kings of Leon". It is this reviewer's objective opinion that people who lump music into genre or scene categories is inane, but it might as well be mentioned that many people do often write this band off as one out of a great many indie-rock bands that all sound pretty much the same. Perhaps the fact that the band simply lacks a bass player entirely accelerates the perception that their "stripped down musical style" fits into a specific "sound" akin to the likes of the White Stripes or The Strokes. The truth is unfortunatley a bit more complicated and artistically credible than this however, as Yeah Yeah Yeahs has proven in two albums to be a real musical gem, encapsulating the evolution of rock music as well as the increasingly complex social dimensions of the soul-sucking Music Scene. A great amount of fiery black vitriol is wasted by those who get angry at innovative pop music outfits that ride the wave of modern hipsterdom with their sound and image while at the same time making significant music. While it would be ostentacious to try and directly name the source of the Brooklyn trio's creative energy, it cannot be denied that guitarist Nick Zinner is the intregal core of the band's energy and sound. Zinner has done his homework and is creating something very special with his evolving sound and production methods. His style is a homage to all the best parts of a great many styles that overlap with intoxicating flowing continuity. Shades of Zeppelin blend with laid back surf riffs that bleed into arena jam-band twinkling and plucking (a sly influence from bands like Phish and String Cheese Incident that has been reverborating throughout indie counterparts like My Morning Jacket and Bright Eye's most recent disc "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"). The ambient-jam influence is expertly applied to give a ghostly, ethereal tinge to songs like "Cheated Hearts" and "Dudley". Other times the vibe is more straightforward, a powerful driving mix of punk rock, trash metal and 1970s femme-rock n' roll, as is the case with "Mysteries", before it erupts into something more sinister and almost industrial, sans electronica. The drumming on the disc is excellent as well, reflecting the minimalistic prescence of a punk rock Ringo Starr and providing a fantastic counterpart to Zinner's arrangements on guitar and keyboards. All in all, strip away all the surrounding pontificating and finger wagging and what we have here is a very innovative dark pop album that draws from a great many stylistic influences but still reverborates with the distinct uniqueness of the New York City underground.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2006
On _Fever to Tell_, the YYY's brought a raucous and unrestrained energy that took them past several boundaries, both musically and lyrically (see my review of that album). On _Show Your Bones_, the YYY's show themselves as adroit as ever at transgressing limits in ways a listener might not expect, to universally excellent effect.
I imagine some might listen to this album and think "sell-out." These people might even be right. But if this is the case, it is definitely one of the best sell-outs in pop music history. Every song rocks a listener on some level, the songs are almost instantly memorable, and the trio all show themselves masters of getting THIS listener to think to no end at the very same time I get my groove on listening to it. "So how does this pop album transgress limits?" you might ask. I'll tell you: it transgresses the expectations they set up on their first releases. This one was supposed to be noise-maelstrom/orgasm- screaming/offensive album No. 4. Well, they are going to invade your mind with this one by circumventing and exceeding your expectations. Another way this one transgresses all limits is by Karen O's natural ability to do this, summed up in the lines from her instant classic, "Cheated Hearts": "Sometimes I think I'm bigger than the sound." This line turns into a mantra with a monotone organ note pumping beneath until the song does end up engulfing you by the end. She doesn't need to think she is bigger than the sound. She is. The YYY's didn't rest on some simple formula like 95% of rock bands do after they experience success. They became bigger than the music. We should all be very grateful. This is forcefully illustrated by "Mysteries," where thirty seconds of the same sort of squalor that occurred on _Fever to Tell_ and their EP's occurs at the end of the song. In fact, their only thirty seconds of such extreme noise on _Show Your Bones_. They have transgressed any formula they possessed on this album.
Many, barring so-called purists, are going to cite "Phenomena" as another classic. IT, like so many of the songs on this album, uses noise in a much more restrained fashion, Nick Zinner showing himself a master of structuring noise into pop hooks. YYY's show themselves ALMOST in the league of Radiohead at using dissonance in a pop format. I am confident that they might get there with a few more albums like this one.
Another instant classic is "Warrior," one of the most memorable, touching, and brave acoustic songs I've heard from any artist this decade. Just buy it and feel Karen O's magic for yourself. If you're let down, I don't know how to account for you because I've listened to this CD over and over in the week since it came out and I have never experienced anything but 40 minutes of uninterrupted pleasure every time I listen to it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2006
It's clear right away that "Show Your Bones" is a much more subdued album than "Fever to Tell," with melody at the forefront and very little of the screaming and thrashing that powered Yeah Yeah Yeahs' debut. That's all well and good. There are a lot of excellent songs here ("Gold Lion," "Way Out," "Cheated Hearts," "The Sweets") that would not have been possible without the band breaking out of their former mold.
The news isn't all good though. Some of these songs would have been more palatable at 1:45 than at four minutes. Also, the more polished production, while well-suited to a song like "Gold Lion," tends to dull the impact of the more rocking songs like "Phenomena." In fact, the guitars seem strangely muted throughout the whole album. I don't know if it was an intentional production choice or not, but the guitar parts just never sound as bold and immediate as they should, leaving the drums and vocals to drive the songs instead.
Overall, "Show Your Bones" is an artistic success, but a little more of the rawness and swagger of "Fever to Tell" would have made it even better.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2006
Words that describe the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sophmore attempt: Loud. Graceful. Passionate. Infecious. Excellent.
The CD takes a needed turn from their equally excellent album Fever to Tell, and it is clear that the band has moved on. The songs are more mature, yet still have an edge. Musically, the band members have grown, the drum, keyboard and guitars move well with the songs. Karen O's voice has also improved, and that is clearly shown on songs like "Turn Into."
The best songs on the album: "Dudley," which is slower, but doen't lose its alternative edge. "Cheated Hearts," which escalates into the line, "sometimes I think that I'm bigger than the sound..." which becomes one of the most memorable lines on the album. I would compare it to "Y Control" on the YYY's latest album. "Honeybear" is fun, upbeat and hilarious. "Turn Into" is slower as well, but beautiful.
If you're a fan of indie rock with a punk persuasion, do yourself a favor and pick up this CD.