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Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell [2] (Cover Artwork)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell [2]Fever to Tell [2] (2003)
Interscope

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: shawnlwshawnlw
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Sexism is heavily ingrained in not just American culture, but in many cultures the world over. Women are frequently belittled and objectified in the media, in business and society, by the men around them, and (as a result of cultural brainwashing) ultimately by themselves. Perhaps because of this, t.
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Sexism is heavily ingrained in not just American culture, but in many cultures the world over. Women are frequently belittled and objectified in the media, in business and society, by the men around them, and (as a result of cultural brainwashing) ultimately by themselves. Perhaps because of this, the role of a woman in hard rock--be it punk, heavy metal, or the more extreme side of alternative--is a difficult one. The category is almost synonymous with testosterone-fueled aggression, and this makes it a challenge for a woman to establish her presence as equal but uniquely feminine. Often, as in the world of extreme metal, it comes across as women posing as men, generally saying "See, we can do what boys can do!" as opposed to "We can do things you boys can't!"

This, however, is not the case with Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Instead of taking the self-conscious route, O wields her gender and sexuality like a weapon to smite her enemies with. Her lyrics are full of come-ons, gender-bending and role reversal and she delivers them in alternating shrieks, sighs, and orgasmic caterwauls. Her performance renders the listener, male or female, uncertain if they are supposed to find this erotic, frightening, empowering or offensive, and that's exactly how she wants it. Think what you will about her, but Karen O is unquestionably the fucking boss.

However, what makes Fever to Tell, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' full-length debut, an exciting record, is not simply its subliminal feminist politics. For most of its 37-minute runtime, it sounds as energetic, unpredictable, and dangerous as one could hope for--a breath of fresh air in today's world of calculated style and image. On standout tracks such as "Man" and "Date with the Night," guitarist Nick Zinner composes songs in the same spirit as the Blood Brothers, a spirit that implies he's been haphazardly crafting dirty post-everything rock gems out of the ugly pieces of songs that less interesting artists threw away. Drummer Brian Chase keeps things in order with tough, disciplined rhythms that seem to be the only force preventing O and Zinner from tearing their own songs apart with their otherwise irrepressible intensity. Even if some of the songs are less developed than others, it is this intensity that keeps things exciting.

After a seven-song stretch of trashy wall-to-wall rockers, the shit un-hits the fan somewhere in the middle of "No No No," as the song breaks down into a slow drone that provides a lead-in for the sobering three-song cycle that brings the record to a close. For any other band, jumping gears in this manner could seriously derail an album. Fortunately for O and Co., they are not any other band. Not only are these three songs perplexingly the strongest on the entire album, but they also contain its not-so-secret weapon.

Make no mistake--the gorgeous "Maps" is the deserving centerpiece of this debut, a sudden moment of emotional nakedness that completely disarms the listener. The single is responsible for much of the hype that this record was met with upon its initial release, and also gave the three musicians a taste of the mainstream success that seems so elusive to a band of their often gnarly character. As Karen O quietly pleads "Wait, they don't love you like I love you" over an ocean of twinkling guitars and thundering toms, the first genuine connection can be made between the band and the listener. This is the sound of desperation, longing and total emotional surrender. It is a sound that you can feel as well as hear.

Suddenly, it becomes irrelevant if you are listening to the words of a man or a woman.Finally, the reason for this band's greatness becomes clear: They are led by a frontwoman who is not simply one of the most distinctly feminine presences in modern rock, but also one of the most distinctly human.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
greg0rb (February 16, 2010)

Preston - "Sexist." "That's what I said: 'sexy.'" "No, sex-IST." Still one of my fav movies of all-time.

thepopeofchili-town (February 16, 2010)

For the record, I'm not trying to be a "hater". I just didn't see the point for a review of this. I loved your Ride The Lightning review. I don't see a need for reviews of anything more than a couple years old unless they're bona fide classics (which RTL is). If I had never heard the Yeah Yeah Yeahs before, after reading this review I would still have no idea what they sounded like.

preston (February 16, 2010)

What's wrong with being sexy?

greg0rb (February 16, 2010)

Don't worry bout the haters man. You made me want to go back an listen to this album again. = successful review

shawnlw (February 16, 2010)

Aw, Pope, you went back and read my review after all. You might be right, the review does perhaps have some pacing issues. I'll try to work that out on future reviews. To answer your question, I don't know what I'd call that. But that's kind of the point. This band can be hard to pigeonhole as "punk," "emo," or anything other than "indie," which is the pigeonhole term designed for bands that were previously too difficult to pigeonhole. Finally, even though the album is seven years old now, I believe that (like all great albums) its influence stays relevant far beyond the general time of its release.

thepopeofchili-town (February 15, 2010)

"I'm sorry, I was under the impression that since you are all visitors of a site called "Punknews.org" that you were interested in what music says and how it relates to society and culture."

Fair enough. But you didn't describe what the music said or how it related to society and culture. It took you two whole paragraphs to even begin to describe the music at all. Once you did you called it "A breath of fresh air in today's world of calculated style and image". What the fuck do you call this?:http://aspirationsofolyvil.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/yyy. jpg

Also it's hard to really call it A breath of fresh air in TODAY's world of anything, being that it's almost a decade old now.

TSOL (February 15, 2010)

Maps is such a great song, so is Y control. Better than the previous review, which seemed to over-look the best songs on the release.

TSOL (February 15, 2010)

Maps is such a great song, so is Y control. Better than the previous review, which seemed to look over the best songs on the release.

shawnlw (February 15, 2010)

Thank you, scruffy, for posting a legitimate counter argument to the issues discussed above. I can certainly respect that, and that sort of intelligent opinion is all I ask for in an argument.

scruffy (February 15, 2010)

No, but giving more credence or respect to a shitty band because their singer is a strong woman is just as pathetic as saying "She's not hot. I'm not interested."

As far as I'm concerned, I don't give a shit if a girl in a band can "rock like the boys" or "still keep her femininity", the same way I don't care about how masculine a male singer is. Honestly, in retrospect, my favorite female singers are the ones who don't lean one way or the other, because they're probably not nearly as concerned with other people's gender issues as they are with their own need to create honest music for themselves first.

shawnlw (February 15, 2010)

I'm sorry, I was under the impression that since you are all visitors of a site called "Punknews.org" that you were interested in what music says and how it relates to society and culture. Also, I would hardly call the biased, immature, hate-filled rant previously posted by a twelve year old on this site a "review". But in any case, next time I'll just try to write about sounds and assume that the music really means nothing. That's what's really important.

thepopeofchili-town (February 15, 2010)

First word of the review is 'Sexism". I stopped reading. Talk about the music. Or don't since this album is 7 years old and has already been reviewed here.

gumpwumper (February 14, 2010)

agreed.

telegraphrocks (February 14, 2010)

Every time my friends puts this shitty album on I want to slit a baby's throat.

greg0rb (February 14, 2010)

Great review. It's funny cause my wife and I often talk about this issue- how it's nearly impossible for women to win in rock, trying to straddle some sort of line between rocking 'as hard as the guys' but still being a woman. My wife plays bass in the band I drum for, so it comes up even more in the past few years since we've been doing that together. We also talked about how the amount of bands with females in them, female-fronted or not, has increased in our listening over the past years, but that seems to coincide with us listening to less quote-unquote 'punk' bands. As far as punk goes, Karen O was the first that came to mind for me, and since my wife is not as into them, I put them on. "Art Star" off of their first EP is one of my favorites, as it goes from Blood Brothers style shrieking to girly 'doot doot doots'. Amazing. My other favorites would probably be Joan Jett, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith, though she tended to go a bit on the boy side of things looks-wise, she always sounded feminine and O has stolen a lot from her vocally.

eazyd2 (February 14, 2010)

also i dont know how eatyourface knew i was gonna post after him!?!?!? weird

eazyd2 (February 14, 2010)

ahaahahahhahhahahahahaahahah. good review.

also i would not fuck this chick. she has a stupid haircut.

eatyour_face (February 14, 2010)

^^^^^^ I fucking lol'd

brown (February 13, 2010)

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