Because two albums by bands I like came out in the last few weeks, I’ve got two reviews here for you. Here’s the second one! This is a review of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s latest album, called Mosquito.
So, this is Yeah Yeah Yeahs fourth album, four years after their last release, It’s Blitz. And in that four years, I don’t know what they’ve been doing, but I’ve been becoming a big fan of theirs. The first Yeah Yeah Yeahs song I heard was Zero, and I was instantly intrigued. The mix of synth-y beats, aggressive yet sweet vocals and wacky lyrics had me hooked. I sort out other songs from the album and I loved it. Then I went looking into their back-catalog, and initially it all sounded so at odds with what I knew, but after I gave it a bit of a chance I came to like it just as much, if not more. Now, Yeah Yeah Yeahs is in my list of bands to see live before I die, and are up there with Garbage in my favorite artists.
That’s the story of how I got into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Maybe your story is similar: Maybe you originally heard their first album, thought it was grand, heard their other stuff and had to slowly warm up to it. If that’s the case, get ready to get back on the rollercoaster, because that’s definitely what you’re in for again with this new album. If you’ve loved everything they’ve put out, no matter what, then you’ll have no problem with this album, but if haven’t liked their recent stuff I think you’re out of luck here. But I’ll come back to that.
This review follows my usual album review format. I’ve written what previous song/s each track reminds me of (the album it comes from is in the brackets), and ranked it on this album, as well as writing a short comment about each track. Plus there’s a bit more of what I thought of the whole album at the bottom.
Reminds me of: Phenomena, Deja Vu (Show Your Bones), Black Tongue (Fever To Tell), Dull Life (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 5
Comments: Somewhat trippy with a full choral finale. It’s a fist-pumping good time, and it got stuck in my head.
Reminds me of: A semi-acoustic Soft Shock, Runaway (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 4
Comments: This song seemed surprisingly relevant as I listened to this on the train. It’s mellow and quiet, full of depth.
Reminds me of: Zero (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 7
Comments: Lyrics lack depth, otherwise a good song, with a solid feel.
4.Under the Earth
Reminds me of: Down Boy, but only the starting( Is Is (EP)), The Sweet (Show Your Bones), Runaway (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 9
Comments: An echo-y track with a strong rhythm, and not that much singing.
Reminds me of: Maps (Fever To Tell), Clap Song (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 6
Comments: This song feels like a watered down version of itself; it feels like Karen’s holding back. It’s filled with a funny squawking bird sound, and lacks the typical anger I’d expect from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Reminds me of: Dragon Queen (It’s Blitz), No No No (Fever To Tell)
Rank on this album: 1
Comments: Contains electro pseudo-woodwind, and messing around with a looped voice track towards the end. It’s pretty cool but quite repetitive. The lyrics sound like a bit of a joke, or like what someone might make up if they couldn’t remember the lyrics.
Reminds me of: Date With The Night (Fever To Tell), Honeybear (Show Your Bones)
Rank on this album: 11
Comments: This track’s a bit closer to the rock you expect to hear, but with a lot more synth and sound effects, and less guitar. It has very literal story-based lyrics.
Reminds me of: Tick, Pin (Fever To Tell)
Rank on this album: 8
Comments: There’s some random rapper on this track. It reminded me of the music in The World Ends With You. I have no idea what he’s on about. I think he says something about vampires? Other than his bits, it’s fairly YYY typical and enjoyable. The rest of track is drawn out, with a strong beat, chimes and some weird percussive voice bites. It never gets to a very elevated, energetic level though.
Reminds me of: sort of, Way Out (Show Your Bones)
Rank on this album: 10
Comments: The chords and backing sound like a tune from the Wild West or a tropical island (I realize how different they are), yet the song somehow also reminds me of Asian pop. It starts distant, and consists mainly of guitar, with the same lyrics repeated over and over.
Reminds me of: Hysteric, Skeleton (It’s Blitz), Modern Romance (Fever To Tell)
Rank on this album: 3
Comments: A calm song which soon opens out into an almost whimsical profession of hope.
Reminds me of: Modern Romance (Fever To Tell), Little Shadow (It’s Blitz)
Rank on this album: 2
Comments: A touching little song, which starts slowly and ends similarly. Apparently Karen O sung this at her own wedding.
Two signs of a good song, and consequently a good album, are getting the song/s stuck in your head and singing them all day, and finding yourself bopping along as the song/s play while your not concentrating on them. Both are true of this album and this selection of songs, although not for all of them.
And that’s the thing with this album, it’s got good bits and bad bits. And I don’t just mean this song’s good and that one’s bad. I mean even within a song there is a mix of elements, some of which are pleasant (sometimes surprising but pleasant), and some which are jarring.
If you look at other reviews for Mosquito, you’ll see there are two majorities: those who think it’s terrible and a total misstep, and those who think it’s the next stop for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs unstoppable train of success. I come down sharply in the middle ground. Here’s the thing: Mosquito is definitely not a masterpiece; it’s not even as good as their other albums. However, it still has a few songs that are strong and deserve some credit, e.g. Wedding Song (even though it’s not my no.1 from the album).
It seems like there’s almost an underlying theme or continuous story running throughout the tracks. It’s a journey with peaks, but mostly it spends it’s time in the troughs. And this leads to a much more emotional and emotive, romantic and relationship-based feel and exploration.
This also means that the frantic and heavy rocking vibe that dominated on Fever To Tell is appropriately, but unfortunately, lacking. There are a few tracks that try to capture that fire again, but they feel more like an imitation or emulation rather than the real deal.
I think the funniest thing I observed about the album was about the lyrics. Usually, when I sing songs to myself I either don’t use the lyrics, or I make them up as I go along. I think it’s something I picked up from my Dad. Anyway, I always try to come up with the most silly and ridiculous derivative lyrics I can, however I found when singing along to some of these songs I actually was singing the actual lyrics because they themselves were so weird they didn’t need changing…I’m looking at you These Paths… That’s not to say it’s a bad thing, it’s just a funny observation.
Overall, while this album grew on me, there are some tracks that I definitely like more than others. But you might find the reverse is true. If you’ve followed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs up to now, you’re sure to find something here to enjoy, but if you’re new maybe go listen to one of their other albums first.
So, that’s what I thought. How about you? Have you heard the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new album Mosquito? If so, maybe you’d like to tell me what you think below. Did it live up to your expectations? Did you enjoy it?
Anyway, I’d better go.
To Infinity and Beyond,
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito (Review) (popmatters.com) – Read this one most!!
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito (Album Review) (haydencornmell.wordpress.com)
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito: They’ll Suck Your Blood! (alrighthearthis.net)
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito (pierslemoignan.wordpress.com)
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell (alphabetalbums.wordpress.com)