Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs [Shifty, 2001] ***
  • Fever to Tell [Interscope, 2003] B+
  • Show Your Bones [Interscope, 2006] ***
  • Is Is [Interscope, 2007] **
  • It's Blitz! [Interscope, 2009] A-
  • Mosquito [Interscope, 2013] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs [Shifty, 2001]
femme-punk self-definition, by now a trope among many others, done with spunk, funk, and downtown noise ("Bang," "Mystery Girl") ***

Fever to Tell [Interscope, 2003]
With help from that bad corporate money, they get a striking sound out of the no-bass thing. It's both big and punk, never a natural combo, and up against the Kills it's killer--Nick Zinner commands more than any man's allotted portion of dangerous riffs. But to care about this band you have to find Karen O's fuck-me persona provocative if not seductive, and since I've never been one for the sex-is-combat thing, I find it silly or obnoxious depending on who's taking it seriously. Duly noted: two human-scale songs toward the end. B+

Show Your Bones [Interscope, 2006]
I dig her new Middle America affect, but still don't wish she was my girlfriend (or daughter) ("Phenomena," "Turn Into"). ***

Is Is [Interscope, 2007]
Sex and groove and icy hot ("10 X 10," "Rockers to Swallow"). **

It's Blitz! [Interscope, 2009]
The more Karen O makes like a disco dolly, the less we're obliged to believe she's a person. She's just a hell of a cartoon, swooping and suffering and s&ming all over her brand of new synth sonics--Gary Numan, Placebo, Lady GaGa, anything for a thrill (except the electro-shoegaze "Runaway"). Dig the art-rock pompadour "Skeletons," where Nick Zinner rips off an excellent bagpipes impression. Even the now-obligatory vulnerable one, where Karen tries to prove she's not only human but nice, is . . . well, not a cartoon, but at least a bedtime story. A-

Mosquito [Interscope, 2013]
Compelling sound, constricted souls, Kool Keith, and cash flow ("Mosquito," "Sacrilege") ***