Music Review

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s / Cool It Down

todayApril 3, 2020 45 4 5

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Recommended if you like: P.J. Harvey, Warpaint, Metric, Patti Smith, early U2
Stand out tracks: “Spitting Off the Edge of the World,” “Fleez,” “Wolf”
by Kristi Houk

A welcome return Cool It Down, the fifth album from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, is their first record in nine years. The three piece powerhouse still sound like themselves—dance-y art school synths, hooks that pack a punch, emotive vocals, and punk all at the same time. What has changed, perhaps, is that they’ve, dare I say, matured. Their sound has expanded. Meaning, there’s more at stake now, because unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, there is a lot at stake. The planet is in climate crisis, we’ve lived through a pandemic, four years of Trump, and threats to our human and civil rights —it’s no surprise there’s a strong apocalyptic thread running through this album. The opening track, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World” (high contender for my song of the year) is anthemic — Full of sweeping strings and throbbing bass and features Perfume Genius on vocals, with Karen O addressing someone—us? Cowards, here’s the sun So bow your heads In the absence of bombs Draw your breath Dark, dark places shall be none She’s melting houses of gold. From Karen O’s perspective, we’ve really screwed up. Mother Nature is pissed. What have we left for future generations to clean up? Fear not, though–Cool It Down isn’t all pessismistic dread. At times, there are palpable moments of catharsis and exhilaration. In particular, “Fleez,” a grungy groove that makes you want to hit the dance floor and samples the beloved, seminal late 70’s early 80’s funk trio ESG. (look them up if you haven’t already) Is it the end of the world? Probably. But I can’t think of a better soundtrack to watch it all crumble. I wager that Cool It Down is one of those albums whose importance may not reveal itself for years. It’s an album for our times.

Written by: kristi houk

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