Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Fever to Tell

Despite all the hype surrounding the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, their debut full length album Fever to Tell is my first experience with the New York group. They have built up quite a following in just a few short years together, and with phrases like “on the verge of stardom” and “next big thing” that keep getting thrown around, it’s hard not to take notice of things like that unless you live in a cave with no access whatsoever to mass media.
A big part of the buildup has been the group’s singer, Karen O., who has been lauded as rock n’ roll’s first female hero to emerge in a long time. It’s easy to see why people love her – she’s got some great lyrics, feisty-as-hell vocals, and a glam-punk wardrobe most women wouldn’t dare to leave the house in. There’s also the fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are yet another bass-less group following on the heels of the success of groups like the White Stripes. Sure, in many ways the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have flash-in-the-pan trend written all over them, but let’s just get over the obvious. If you are just trying to improve your hipster credibility, then you have already decided you like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. What really matters is not what the singer wears, but whether or not the music is good and will it stand any sort of test of time.
The fortunate thing for music lovers everywhere is that Fever to Tell does offer up some seriously raw rock n’ roll that fluctuates between a variety of related genres including glam and punk. Karen O’s seductive mid-range voice reminds me a lot of Chrissie Hynde – and Ms. O delivers her vocals with fierce intensity. Drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner back it all up by attacking their instruments with a reckless abandon that moves quite expertly between melodic and chaotic. The combined result is 11 songs (plus one hidden track) that barely makes it over 35 minutes long. From the punch these tracks pack the Yeah Yeah Yeahs really don’t need anymore time then what they give.
Fever to Tell includes some absolutely great rock music, like “Man,” “Black Tongue,” and “Rich” that are only made better by Karen O’s strangely titillating lyrics like “I got a man who makes me wanna kill” or “Boy you’re just a stupid bitch, girl you’re a no-good dick.” O’s raunchy vibe relaxes a bit toward the end of the album and leaves the swagger and sneer behind on tracks like “Modern Romance” and the 12th hidden song. Everything shines just as brightly on these slower songs and shows that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a little more under their belts then just sexual innuendos.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a band who will definitely remain the darlings of rock for quite a while, but they’ve got enough going for them that they’re likely to remain steadfast favorites of true music fans even after the hype has died down and the scenesters have moved on to something else. If you like your rock n’ roll full of attitude and sharp edges, look no further than Fever to Tell – this is one band that certainly delivers all that and more.