Sacrilege by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
And just one week after we wrapped up the best album title for 2013, YYYs have slammed the door on the worst album cover of the year (if not ever). Wow. Not only does it make my eyes hurt, it actually makes my brain hurt.
Do you guys remember Garbage Pail Kids? My guess is you don’t because most of you had cautious and attentive parents who’d forbade you from wallowing in such filth. But never fear. WD was raised by Steven King, HBO, and MAD Magazine (N.B. Kidding, mom). But, Garbage Pail Kids were the weird cousins from California that I never hung out with that often (N.B. Prolly ’cause mother threw them away anytime she found them. But you couldn’t get HBO cancelled early enough to prevent my pottiest of junior high potty-mouths, could ya, mom?) but every time I saw them, they had something new (to my small town sensibilities, of which I’m now quite dubious) creepy, dangerous, and cool. Unfortunately, I see none of that in the above abortion of an album cover.
Regardless, YYY is a band I really like, but have always wanted to love. They’re really good, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly they are. Like many of you, I reckon, the first time I heard them was when they released Maps, one of the truly great songs of the last decade. However, if you thought you could foresee the rest of the music they were to make from Maps, I think you’d be wrong. (N.B. At least I was. And let’s be honest, could you ever really do that with any band whose name doesn’t rhyme with tricklecrack?) Because YYY also released the hard-charging Gold Lion from Show Your Bones and the gorgeous techno-infused Zero from It’s Blitz with the only common element seeming Karen O’s sublime voice.
And now this curious album (with the catastrophic cover) Mosquito. I didn’t know what to think about it at first. Having decided (N.B. because of how I adored It’s Blitz) that YYY had ascended to immediate-purchase-without-pre-listen, I bought the vinyl, listened to it, and immediately regretted it. It seemed frantic, unfocused and frankly, silly. But after some repeated listens, I think that the problem was that Mosquito is weighed down by two dreadful, dreadful songs (the title cut and Area 52) and with those combined with WD’s well-documented problem with album cover mental imagery, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.
I stuck it out and found some gems besides the immediately accessible (N.B. and choir-backed bad-ass-ery) Sacrilege. The final two tracks trend toward Maps both in gravitas and quality, but none of it approaches the fun of It’s Blitz! So I’m still not sure what the YYYs are, but I am comfortable with YYYs as an immediate purchase band as long as they don’t wrap their next effort in another retro GPK shit show.