The J Files: Yeah Yeah Yeahs



Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a band that teens of the early-2000s clutch close to their hearts. For many, their songs are tied to teen milestones, like first parties, first pashes and first moshes.

If you are one of those teens, it’s hard to listen back to those tunes and not feel your heart pound a little faster and the phantom closeness of a band room of bodies around you.

Frontwoman Karen O’s description of her relationship to the music they were making reflects how a lot of their fans felt about indie rock of the early-2000s, and how they found their way into it, too.

“When I was in my teenage years and college years, I got into indie rock music and stuff like that,” she said in a 2015 interview with Electronic Beats.

“[It] just felt a little bit more accessible to me than trying to be Michael Jackson.”

In a way, Beyonce’s reference to Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ track ‘Maps’ in ‘Hold Up’ is a perfect metaphor for the band’s place in popular and music culture.

The biggest pop icon of our time referenced them on her most important record to date, but they never quite transformed into a chart topping, stadium touring band. Though you can’t deny their significant influence on the many bands that came after them.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ musical style is hard to pin down. Over the years they’ve moved between genres and back again.

Their early days of Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones were more garage and punk, while Brian Chase’s cut up and looped drums on It’s Blitz saw the band extend towards indie-electronica (A-Trak’s remix of ‘Heads Will Roll’ dominated dancefloors in 2010).

Each time Yeah Yeah Yeahs emerged from the studio they brought along a record that evolved from their previous release.

“There was less drinking, more dancing,” TV On The Radio guitarist and Yea Yeah Yeahs producer Dave Sitek said of 2009’s It’s Blitz!. “We’re in our 30s now, it’s a little different.”

On Mosquito, we even heard gospel choirs.

“We have no allegiance to any one style,” Karen O told LA Times in an interview in 2009, “only what’s raw and true.”


CHAPTER 2 Class Of 2001
CHAPTER 3 Love and Punk Rock
CHAPTER 3 Love and Punk Rock
CHAPTER 4 Explosive Live, Shy At Home
CHAPTER 5 Side Projects
CHAPTER 6 Break-up Rumours & Record No. 5

Read the full article on Double J.

Download the Yeah Yeah Yeahs J Files podcast on iTunes.

Originally published 20th October, 2016.

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