10 Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs formed in 2000 as part of the new wave of bands gaining notoriety out of New York in the beginning of the millennium. The trio of vocalist Karen O, guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase spread their form of indie art punk to the masses with their 2003 debut, 'Fever to Tell,' and have only continued to evolve over the past nine years. Here, we take a look back at their career to choose the 10 Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs that have been released so far.
The first single from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' second album, 'Show Your Bones,' wasn't exactly what fans were expecting. 'Gold Lion' had a slower tempo than their previous work, incorporating an acoustic guitar into the mix. 'Gold Lion' sounds like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Love and Rockets decided to have a baby together and produce it. Fun fact: The track is named after the two Gold Lion Awards won by a 2005 Adidas commercial for which Karen O had provided vocals.
After releasing a couple of EPs, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs unleashed their debut album, 'Fever to Tell,' to the masses. The disc was met with glowing reviews, despite a questionable track listing sequence. First single 'Date With the Night' is a blistering two-and-a-half minute set that showcases Karen O's mind-piercing vocals, Zinner's aggressive guitar riff arsenal and Chase's dynamic drumming. It comes in at No. 9 on our Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs list.
The 2002 'Machine' EP contains Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs from the 'Fever to Tell' sessions. The title track was released as a single and continued to show the art punk side of the band. The meaning of the song is still up for debate, with some thinking it's an ode to a vibrator. "Oh machine / Machine, I washed it for you / Oh machine / Machine, I wasted for you," Karen O howls. You be the judge on that one.
'Y Control' is one of those Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs that contains a bittersweet meaning underneath the bouncy arrangement. The tune is about the emotional control of a woman by a man. "I wish I could buy back / The woman you stole," Karen O sings over fuzz rock guitar licks. The music video for 'Y Control' is a bit disturbing to watch, as director Spike Jonze depicts children carrying the body of a dead dog and lashing out in violence. You know, what kids typically do after school.
The moment you hear the opening synth portions of 'Zero,' you know this is going to be a fun Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. The band combines synth-pop, glam and disco elements into one delightful dance number. "Shake it like a ladder to the sun / Makes me feel like a madman on the run / Now you're never, never far gone / So get your leather, leather / Leather on, on, on, on," Karen O jubilantly sings (while dancing inside a convenience store, if you're watching the video). If that doesn't personify fun, we don't know what does.
After Yeah Yeah Yeahs scored big with their hit 'Maps,' the band started working on the follow-up to 'Fever to Tell.' However, the initial songs were scrapped because they did not want to repeat the same record, and eventually 'Show Your Bones' was released. As with the first single 'Gold Lion,' 'Cheated Hearts' strayed away from the uncontrollable rawness of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' past, and is instead another indie ballad gem. The music video is a montage of energetic Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans dressed up as the trio and lip-syncing to the song.
Coming in at No. 4 on our Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs list is 'Heads Will Roll,' a delicous dance-pop track from 2009's 'It's Blitz!' The tune is dripping with synth-keys that share equal billing with Zinner's guitar. "Off with your head / Dance 'til you're dead / Heads will roll, heads will roll, heads will roll / On the floor," Karen O proclaims. We think we'll do just that.
It's almost unavoidable that we will eventually end up in a relationship that has run its course, but we're either too afraid of change or hurting the other person. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs sum this up in 'Soft Shock' perfectly, made more poignant by the stripped down rendition. Karen O bares her insecurities over a haunting acoustic guitar, asking "What's the time / What's the day / Go and leave me."
'Pin' is a shining example of the rock renaissance that was happening in New York City during the early 2000s. The track is a bittersweet melody deceptively hidden by Zinner's bouncy guitar work that plays off of Chase's drum beats. Karen O brings it all together with her raw but catchy vocals in two minutes of art punk bliss, which is why it's No. 2 on our Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs list.
Someone could never hear another Yeah Yeah Yeahs song again but know 'Maps,' the tear-jerking, heart strings-pulling ballad that became a breakthrough single for the band. 'Maps' broke out of its indie status, appearing on teen drama shows on TV, millions of YouTube covers and even on 'Rock Band.' We can't count how many times we've drunkenly sung Karen O's ode to former boyfriend Angus Andrew. The music video is just as emotional, and it's the genuine tears that Karen O cries that stab us right in the heart and land 'Maps' at the top spot on our Best Yeah Yeah Yeahs Songs list.