Yes, it’s one of the most hideous album covers of all time (and not without appropriately disturbing videos, of course) but don’t let that throw you off. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have always been dangerously stylish, and pushing the envelope into questionable taste is inevitable. Don’t let the hype throw you off either. This might be their best album. (So far, though, so far!) They’ve been around a while; unbelievably enough, they were the cool next big thing way back in 2003. Being the next cool big thing, or the spearhead of the rebirth of NYC punk rock, or the indie darlings of the minute, can be a heavy burden, and plenty of bands have sunk under the weight of such titles. So it’s pretty exceptional when someone actually succeeds in becoming more interesting over the years. Karen O has showcased her range with a variety of side projects, both solo and in collaboration, and proved herself an artist with the diverse skill set and increasing maturity to stick around a long, long time. And does it not take a uniquely creative mind to write an ode to blood-sucking, disease-carrying, pestilent, hideous insects? Anyone who has that idea and then brings it to brilliant fruition is a keeper.


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