Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Official Website!

By Amanda Parker

WHEN: 2000 – present

CULPRITS: Karen O. (lead singer), Brian Chase (drummer), Nick Zinner (guitarist)

ALBUMS: Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2002); Fever to Tell (2003); Show Your Bones (2006); Is Is (EP, 2007); It’s Blitz (2009)

HOW: It was summer and my family was packing to move out of the house and town I had grown up in. The first few notes of “Maps” rang out over my living room and stopped me dead in my tracks. Despite the song’s melancholy vibe, there was something raw and ready to break loose. I was transfixed by Karen O. Was she about to cry or shout? Or both? And then it was over, only to resurface a few times over the next few years. Still, this was my introduction into a whole new style of music. Despite its difference from “Maps,” I had a similar reaction to the album Show Your Bones, played loudly on back roads with the windows down. And later, at a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show, with confetti “Y’s” and rain falling as Karen O. jumped, screamed, and whispered in front of the confident Nick and Brian. There are so many sides to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs that I had to fall for them more than once.

WHY: There is something pleasantly untamed about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and yet, they have a really tight sound. They are the tattoo under the cardigan, the head banging while you fix your tie in the morning,  the glitter, and the smudged eyeliner. They are the wild romance, the angry break-up, the quiet moment of being okay. There is a certain art to the balance of the extreme highs and lows.  There is plenty of great music out there that is beautiful, wild, or unexpected. What is unique is that they combine it all. Just when you think they are about to go too far, they pull back. Just when you think you know where they are going, they throw in a techno beat or throaty yell. If you’ve ever seen them live, you know that they embody their music perfectly. Karen O breaks down and jumps up, twists, pauses, stretches, smirks, explodes. Meanwhile, Brian and Nick back her calmly, controlled. It makes you realize more than ever that this is music that is meant to be felt.

SONGS: Since most of the songs are fairly short, I was able to put a good variety together for this list. While I absolutely love the new album, it will never beat the classic Yeah Yeah Yeahs for me. I feel like the older songs really show off the unique style that first won me and most of their fans over. With the new album, the same YYY’s style definitely shows through but there is a slightly more polished feel. Two songs from their Is Is EP are nice additions and really tie the different albums together, in my opinion. While “Maps” is different than a lot of their other songs, I felt like it was a good way to ease into their music. Some of their most popular songs eventually lead to the lesser-known “Art Star” and then to the energy of both “Heads Will Roll” and “Dull Life.” Slowing down, I ended the list with songs that highlight the softer and sometimes even pretty side of their music.

WHAT’S MISSING: I am not including their single “Zero” on this list. I never felt that this song really represented them well and don’t feel that it fits well into this list. Another song that I am actually sad to have left off is “Modern Romance.” While this song is a personal favorite, it also just didn’t add to the overall list.

LINK: Click on the list below to hear our YEAH YEAH YEAHS playlist on!

Click here to hear our Yeah Yeah Yeahs playlist on!


Amanda Parker is a graphic designer who gets excited about color swatches, paper, and good ink pens. In her spare time, she teaches yoga to members of a local fight club (and obviously, ignores the first rule). She rarely sleeps but laughs uncontrollably and often. She is most often seen rocking out a black cardigan, regardless of weather or occasion. You can read more about her adventures and recent shows here.

~ by Patrick Gosnell on October 29, 2009.

4 Responses to “Yeah Yeah Yeahs”

  1. Bravo! There is nothing more amazing they when music meets moment…such a powerful thing! I love this one AP…totally sums up the whole ‘soundtrack to our lives’ thing that I think this site does so well!

  2. Love the graphics! Keep it up!

  3. Perfect YYY mix and article! 😀

  4. Man, this blog totally got me into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs!

    I really do love this place.

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