by Stephanie Colombini
I was all set and ready to love “Sacrilege,” the opening track off Yeah Yeah Yeah’s fourth album in the past decade, Mosquito — then the gospel choir came in. It reminded me of Muse’s headache-inducing rock-opera that plagued the London Olympics last year, “Survival.” When will bands understand that only Queen can do Queen? The second track, “Subway,” pulls it way back, and would’ve been less boring had it not dragged on for five minutes. Yeah Yeah Yeahs is at its best short and sweet, yet several of the album’s songs run on for far too long.
When I heard the third track, I couldn’t figure out why they opened the album the way they did. As one of the album’s strongest tracks, “Mosquito” would have done a way better job at roping me in. Its groovy bass compliments Karen O’s wacky vocals as she wails and moans a la “Date with the Night.” And at three minutes, it’s a perfect slice of garage band heaven. The same goes for “Area 52,” my other favorite track. Karen echoes, “I want to be an alien,” a reflection of the album’s sci-fi spirit; but it’s the raw, organic sounds of the live band that make this song so successful. No synths necessary.
The band dabbles in hip hop, which could have been cool if they didn’t screw it up. “Buried Alive” features one verse by Dr. Octagon–just one! The rap sounds strange and out of place when it could’ve made for an awesome song with more incorporation. That seems to be the overall problem with Yeah Yeah Yeah’s on Mosquito: they’re either trying too hard or not hard enough.