I have to come clean. Before now, I didn't own any Yeah Yeah Yeahs albums. I've heard some of their songs but not enough to know their names with one exception, "Maps". That's only because I've sat through the video transfixed the three or four times I stumbled across it. All I do have to say is that it was never intentional. I was never all like "I hate the Yeah Yeah Yeahs because everyone likes them! I'm different because I've preemptively chosen to hate them. Yah!" No malice intended, I swear. I just never got around to it. It was on my list of things to do along with cleaning out the garage, organizing my sock drawer, and getting a garage. There just wasn't enough time. So you, gentle reader, are getting a review of Show Your Bones without the baggage of past albums.
That said, I'm jonesing for the baggage. I'm ordering the other albums.
This is one of the rare cases where a hyped band lives up the hype. The only thing better than having this album is knowing that there are MORE Yeah Yeah Yeahs' albums and I will have them.
The album opens with a simple drum beat that is followed quickly by an acoustic guitar and Karen O singing. The song's slow gait conjures images of the band pushing through a doorway all at once to get in your face. When they crowd around you, Karen O half moans/ half growls and then the cymbals ring continuously and there is a guitar solo and the room starts spinning. You are falling, anticipating the unfortunate, yet inevitable end of the album. And then, if you're me, you're running out the door to buy the other albums.
There were songs on this album that found me scratching my head a little bit. "Phenomena" was one such case. As you sit there listening to L.L. Cool J lyrics, you can't help but think that this is where the album is going to fail. Surely, no one could come back from this. The images of L.L. on MTV Unplugged are already there. I can see the deodorant under his arms. But by the end of the song, I'm singing along, overpowered by the band and thankful that they are able to crowd such images from my head. This band possesses not only the ability to challenge the listener but the ability to win.
At one point in "Cheated Hearts", the music builds in intensity until it bursts with Karen O singing, "I think I am bigger than the sound." And I think the band has become that-bigger than the sound. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are taking their place among the best bands ever because they transcend the album. Radiohead can put out a bad album and still be Radiohead. It doesn't erase Bends or OK Computer. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have achieved that luxury. Not that I think either band will need it. The only thing I don't understand is how the rest of your are going to satisfy yourselves with one new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album when I will have all of them. I feel so bad for you.