Karen O - 'Strange Love'
Yeah Yeah Yeahs star returns
Appearing on a Tim Burton soundtrack is no longer the clear-cut coup it once was. The film director’s last few releases suggested that his gothic genius had inched past its sell-by-date; mould set in, ideas wore thin. At one point, around the time of his Alice In Wonderland release, there was a shortage of eggs across Los Angeles – Burton had gone out in the dead of night and cleared all the supermarket shelves for his pudding.
Last night a song from the soundtrack to his new film (well, it’s a remake of Frankenweenie) was premiered on BBC 6Music by none other than Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and notable solo success (such as her soundtrack for Where The Wild Things Are). Cue great anticipation, particuarly from YYYs fans who have been waiting a few years since the explosive ‘It’s Blitz!’ was released. But one thing at a time: can Karen O’s new song ‘Strange Love’ escape the inevitable hipster woodworm and disentangle itself from Burton’s heavy-handed schtick?
It doesn’t look good. Theremin solo? Check. A retro reference pastiche? Calypso – check. Hipster field recordings? Barking dogs – check. Twee lyrics? Indeed.
And yet. And yet. It escapes falling into a parody of the kind of music that might soundtrack a Burton epic because Karen O is, quite simply, an excellent song writer. It has shades and dynamics, a pretty tinkling piano passage and moves in an unpredictable, charming manner. Also it’s hard not to smile at a surfy calypso beat. Aloha! Lucy Jones