Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mosquito Review

It's been a while since we've heard anything from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs! I remember when the album art for "Mosquito" was released and everyone thought it was just a joke. That weird little baby still makes me deeply uncomfortable, which is a weird contrast to the actual music. Mosquito is echo-y and subdued, even on the tracks when it goes the hardest. It feels like a dark, weird movie with a very unusual plot structure - starts out with its climax, and the rest of the film is where you have to deal with the emotional aftermath. But I like that. I like the whole atmosphere of Mosquito. I like that pretty much every song is in minor key, and I like that it's drenched in reverb. I like it!

What I really like is "Sacrilege", the song's opener. Have you heard this song? Seriously, it's incredible. So's the video. Here, go wild.

I don't just like "Sacrilege", I love it. I love Karen O.'s repeated switch from breathy singing to reverb-y cries, and how they combine on the chorus. I love the slow build from single bass notes to the bouncy guitar and the gospel choir. "Sacrilege" is an epic opener, and definitely one of the best tracks on the album.

The whole thing really does feel like a movie score, especially with songs like "Sacrilege" and "Always", which could be in some kind of David Lynch TV show (y'all know how I feel about Lynch). "Despair" is bare bones compared to the other songs on the album, but in a great way. It would feel right at home over some kind of montage of teenagers doing teenage things. And "Mosquito" should play over a scene of someone committing gratuitous destruction of property, and looking terribly badass while doing it.

That's not to say that Mosquito doesn't have its weak links. "Under the Earth" really overdoes that echo-y quality that it shares with the rest of the album, and seems to plod on without really going anywhere. And "Area 52" is just a mess. It sounds like a joke song. That weird alien voice in the background is kitschy, and NOT in a good way.

But I think the area where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs really hit their mark is on the quieter, more subdued songs on the album. "Subway" is a very quiet and delicately somber track, with a nice background effect of the sound of a train on the tracks. The lyrics aren't really distinct, but that adds a nice effect, and when they are, they pack an emotional wallop - "I lost you on a subway car... I waited and I waited." The muffled guitar is really great, and it adds to the effect of ever-increasing tension which never quite builds enough to burst.

And then there's "Wedding Song". Is it weird that I kind of want to play this at MY wedding? I just think it's so touching. It's frankly the most beautiful song on the album, and a well-placed closer. If I'm going to continue with my movie analogy (and I definitely am), this is the part of the movie where you know that despite all the weird darkness that you had to go through to get here, the end is going to be a happy one. Which is kind of a nice metaphor for life, if you think about it. Yeah, I'm playing this at my wedding. For sure.

My rating: 8/10

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