Monday, August 03, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Zero"

I meant to post this closer to its sister posts. I had earlier written about Thao and the something-or-other's "Swimming Pools" and also about Lady Gaga. As an update, I haven't been hearing "Poker Face" in the supermarket anymore, and I'm not really missing it. The ultimate in disposable pop music.

So the last horse in my pop-songstress guilty pleasure trifecta is "Zero" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. First, though, I don't like Karen O, and it all has to do with the way she dresses. I don't like it and I hate seeing people influenced by her on the streets or on the L train. Her clothing, designed by a friend of hers, looks slapped together and sewn poorly, like all that doll clothes you used to make when you were a kid but always got too impatient to actually finish. There are ways to be avant-garde and creative and then there are ways to be sloppy. Like the "work" of the art students who worship the band, Karen O's fashion veers towards the latter-- uninspired and attention seeking.

As I mentioned, indie rock tends to be guilty pleasure music for me, and this song, this band in general, also falls in that category. They're widely-played tracks are either fun radio singles or uninteresting songs like "Y-Control"-- which have the same elements that the good singles have, catchy phrases, a blend of musical styles, repetition-- but never come together. When they stick to making radio-ready music, they succeed, though the songs are so catchy it's easy to get sick of them ("Pin"). I get YYY fatigue easier than I get Johnny Depp or "Such Great Heights" fatigue. "Maps" was a great song until every station in the world was playing it every hour, on the hour.

I think I might stick with "Zero" for awhile, though. It's a big song and does a lot more with the vocals than other songs have, eschewing the gimmicky "Pin"-like chorus, resulting in a track that is more mature and ambitious. Check it out.

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