2022’s Cool It Down is a lightning in a bottle. A magic eight-track collection, it implores you to embrace YYY’s beauty and power.
Cowards, here’s the sun … so bow your heads.
I remember when this album came out in late-2022 and it was all anyone could talk about. Preoccupied elsewhere, I didn’t manage to listen the album fully until the new year started. My my, I’m glad I did.
When YYY’s vocalist and pianist Karen O confirmed the long-awaited return of Yeah Yeah Yeahs earlier last year in 2022, I remember it was met with excitement – but trepidation. Through the skylights of New York’s indie scene in the early 2000’s, only a handful make it through the otherside. Funnily enough, we thought 2013’s Mosquito would be their last, a drifting off as they undoubtedly confirm allegiances with solo projects.
But what we got instead, was a thunderstorm return for the legendary trio. A tempered earmarking of joy, Cool It Down is equally reserved but marvellously massive. It’s not the nightclub rift of Heads Will Roll but rather, a hurling into a cinematic fever dream. Their first lead single in nine years, is on all fours. A cosmic swooning of synthesizers, churning of Nick’s guttural guitar-buzz and Brain’s implosive drum fills; it’s a statement of intent. An imploring to reel in the madness and construct the preparations of an impending doom to our world.
While Spitting… is the high-octane prologue to the impact, Lovebomb is the ultimate aftermath: a compendium of swooning static, it’s rich synth measures, sluggish drum drive and Karen’s imploration to keeping the lights on, bring about a modernity to former indie-rock. The trio’s orchestral tipping point is sealed with Wolf’s staccato violins, a striking resemblance to a transient change to the atmosphere, to the future understanding of where this band will end up next, “I’m lost and I’m lonely / I hunger for you only / Don’t leave me now, don’t break the spell. In heaven, lost my taste for hell.”
While Wolf is lost to the subwoofa of indie-disco inflections, Fleez is a funky counterpart, met up with a damaging bass for its hook and oscillating lines throughout.
Another single released before the eight-track album, Burning has the temperament of Maps, a portrayal of the trio finding gold during their moments in the studio. Again, it’s being led into the fire with a mighty ripple of violin tremolos and bass buzz that ramps up into explosive choral delight.
Blacktop and Different Today is another immersive chapter into the cinematic universe of ethereal wonderment. The magic of making music is getting lost in it and it seems that Yeah Yeah Yeahs are more than experts at it.
Above all else, Mars is a spoken-word epilogue of adventuring into the unknown, a contemplative naivety to YYY‘s furtive approach to writing music at the heart of it.
A cathartic love-letter of the impossibility to letting go to both music and time, Cool It Down is a forever-landmark in their catalogue..
..and it is undoubtedly an album I shall keep returning to.
FFO: Metrics, LCD Soundsystem, Superorganism
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