Can it really be four years since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs third album ‘It’s Blitz!’? It sure can. Since then, the band have participated in a number of exciting solo projects, celebrated their 10 year anniversary in gritty day-glo style and gone back to their ferociously exciting basics on new album ‘Mosquito’. Oh and Karen & Co have found time to make an appearance on the cover of this week’s NME for an exclusive interview.
The “goth, nerd, slut” have also given us the breakdown on their fourth album below…
Karen: You can think of this as dating someone who’s way out of your league and not knowing if you can hold court with them. It also could be about finding out something about someone you didn’t know already. It’s about that fire. There’s a lot of earth angels out there, man.
Karen: Barney my husband sent me a link to this list of ‘Top 50 songs written about New York City’. He was like, “you gotta write one”. I was like “We already did – it’s called ‘Yeah! New York’!“. But when we were in New Orleans I wrote this track, which is a love song set on the most New York City thing there is – which is the metro system. It’s my new New York song.
Karen: ‘Mosquito’s what happens when you’re not going out as much and you don’t have songs to sing about getting drunk in bars. You have to find something else you feel passionate about! Which is blood sucking bugs. Feel free to put whatever metaphor on it you want though!
Nick: That’s my favourite song on the record.
Karen: Mine too! I can’t believe it that it’s Nick’s favourite because it’s got NO GUITAR ON IT!
Nick: There’s so much magic and wonder to this track. On the one hand it really sounds like us but on the other it doesn’t sound like anything we’ve ever done and I love that. It’s creepy but incredibly moving at the same time. Even after hearing it at least 4,000 times it’s entrancing
Nick: That was a hard song to figure out. It was kinda one of those songs where we had all the pieces but we didn’t know how to fit them together.
Karen: I felt like the intro is a nod to The Knife and Fever Ray – she’s just awesome. There’s a pitch down vocal – like an octave below that gives this satantic vocal shadow.
Karen: That started off as a Richie Havens-style jam. You know that song ‘Freedom’? It was just guitar and vocals and then we bought it to super-producer Dave Sitek and he turned it into this medical marijuana tripped-out Texas desert recording. It feels like it projects infinitely out into space.
Nick: It’s one of Sitek’s masterpieces. We gave him space to do his magic and it’s rad.
Karen: We were in the desert in Texas. Not too far from Area 51 in Nevada where there’s UFO sightings all the time. It’s got a proper anthem rock riff – like Alice Cooper or Kiss. I think it’s some of the best lyrics I’ve written in many years. It’s so tongue in cheek man. It’s awesome, goofy fun.
Karen: There’s something for everyone in this track. It’s a dance song with hip-hop and goth. I would love for someone to just stage a party just for me where there’s a slow strobe and everyone’s out of their mind and they surprised me by playing that track.
Karen: The engagement song! I wrote this when I was engaged – it’s about the promise of everlasting love. It sounds as if it was recorded in a cloud floating in the fucking heavens above. It’s like how you feel when you have all that future ahead of you.
Karen: This is a song I wanna give to people who are going through some shit to help lift them up through it. I wrote it for Nick and I when we were going through this hard time – It’s like spilling our guts on the table.
Nick: It was something that just hit so close to home with what Karen was feeling and what I was feeling. It’s one of the most honest things we’ve ever done. It comes from this absolutely pure place.
Karen: Mi casa tu casa man! My house is your house dude! This is a sealing the deal song. It’s also a song about finding the one. I wrote it for my wedding, although we changed it up a bit for the record. We didn’t have vows at my wedding. I feel really awkward about saying stuff – so saying it in a song made perfect sense.