Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (Polydor) 29/06/2009

July 1, 2009 by  

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New Yorkers are good at being cool. Now having a hit record is one of those things: you start off being super cool, and then the General Public get their hands on your records and the cool people stop liking you and you are then merely popular. It’s a tricky thing to negotiate coming out the other side of a hit record still super cool. Fortunately the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are New Yorkers, and what’s more, they have a stealth weapon in the form of Karen O: supreme wearer of tights and generally the coolest woman in rock. They managed to avoid ‘doing a Killers’, and kept their original fans. Which was nice.

So they released a critically acclaimed but commercial underachieving sophomore, and here we are, on the newly released third album, It’s Blitz!, on the second single release, ‘Head’s Will Roll’.

With the third album our heroes are suddenly paddling in the mainstream along with a crowd of indie bands, having bought themselves a synth. It’s hard not to stifle a disappointed yawn. It seems style is at last overriding substance.

And so, to the song: it has a sparse disco drum beat, and bit of keyboard (don’t they all these days?) and a yelping Karen O. Girls want to be her, and boys want to do her. This helps. The song itself, when held up next to some of their previous masterpiece singles seems like a paint-by-numbers picture. The chorus is dull and repetitive, the lyrics insipid, and the whole thing is pretty easy to tune out. I’d really like to say something more profound about it but it’s impossible to pay attention to the whole thing. If the band wagon’s full, stick to what you know, or hitch a lift elsewhere.


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