A woman in a yellow skirt falls towards an inferno

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Cool It Down LP

Cool It Down is the new album from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, offering everything we’re used to. Yet, there are differences – it focuses more on the details and much less on the voice of Karen O. And it works wonders.

We Thought Y3 Were Gone

You may have thought Yeah Yeah Yeahs were gone, done, and never coming back after Mosquito, the 2013 album critics didn’t particularly like. However, if you follow Karen O, you know she’s been busy with other projects, and it came as a bit of a surprise when the band announced a new album a few weeks ago.

I’ve been loving this band for ages and won’t lie – I did go ecstatic – and even more when I listened to the first released songs we’ve reviewed, namely ‘Spitting Off the Edge of the World’ and ‘Burning’.

And then they dropped the rest.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Cool It Down Reviewed and Explained

‘Spitting Off the Edge of the World’ opens with a few drum beats and quickly unleashes heavy synths, which push you into a state of known ecstasy. And that’s just the beginning because you instantly expect the album to explode. But it doesn’t because the song next up is ‘Lovebomb’, a very slow, dreamy, and gentle one portraying love in all its fragility:

Oh, let the time come
Oh, when hearts fall in love
Oh, let no one see you
Let nothing hold you
Come close, come close

Lovebomb – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The song mentions time and stars, picturing an image of love being fleeting, the evanescence of it, which all of a sudden helps us interpret the title, ‘Cool It Down’, a lot more precisely – cool it down, pay more attention to the things that matter, that you have now, and before they’re gone.

The album is nothing like we heard from the trio in the past. It’s slower, more focused on the joy fine music in its every small detail brings and much less of Karen’s (absolutely brilliant and unique) voice that can go from gentle to howling depending on if she’s singing a ballad or something higher on the rock scale of amazingness.

Don’t get me wrong, though. While you’re not getting ‘Fever To Tell’ or ‘Maps’, you’ll listen to other more amazing pieces instead. You’ll get everything but different and, maybe, better. Just not in the way you’d expect it.

‘Wolf’ is the stuff 80s, Duran Duran with Madonna holding the mic. It has a good pop spin that pleases because anywhere you listen to it, you’ll want to dance. I have been there, and anytime this kicks in, I just do little dances.

Watch Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Wolf

It’s that powerful, especially in combination with ‘Fleez’, which follows it.

There’s no doubt a part of the album’s maturity comes from realising that environmental protection has become the topic to talk about, to fight for, and to take action whenever possible because it’s our planet. No one else is responsible for it:

You know I won’t do battle with no fiction
The wilderness becoming my addiction
I shuffle ’round the creatures and the lords (the lords)
On the road again, I make my transformation
And it feels nice

Fleez – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The lyrics pave the way by not fighting the lies but only accepting the facts, reconnecting with the wilderness, and loving the transition. Not only that, there’s more as our society’s perception has started to shift:

Fleez and me eating nuts in the leaves
That’s where we dance to ESG

Fleez – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The shift can be seen in many companies adopting ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) and sustainability becoming one of their core values. All that is thanks to the customer and social pressure. Improvements on that side of things are something you dance to and celebrate with a squirrel, chipmunk, fox, or raccoon, which you call Fleez, or wildlife.

That was the alternative explanation of the song. The more trustworthy one is that Karen went to see an ESG (which stands for Emerald, Sapphire, and Gold) live gig in New York. Pick the explanation that makes more sense to you, no judgement.

Watch Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fleez

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have never been fond of wordy lyrics that overexplain; rather, the opposite. Employing repetition makes them sound louder and leaves the majority of interpretation to the listener.

In this band’s case, the lyrics are clever but not rocket science, yet you have to listen carefully to get all the clues. Their music has a unique vibe that, when you give in, pulls you in immediately, which happens to be also the case of ‘Different Today’.

Not all songs on the album are actual songs; there’s an exception, a song that’s not a song but a poem, and it’s titled ‘Mars’:

I watched my favourite show tonight
The dance the light does
On the sea’s ever-shifting surface
Golden tunnel beckoning, rosy
I can’t come with you, not now
No more shimmering path
Just an orb hanging above
With all its heavenly fire
Contained in a complete circle
I asked my son what it looked like to him
“Mars”, he said with a glint in his eye
“Mars”, he said with a glint in his eye

Mars – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

While the adult, Karen, now a parent, sees the sun in its natural, nurturing and glowing beauty, understanding how it shapes the world and our lives, her son sees something only a child’s eyes can see. Mars. A planet that’s so far away for adult eyes yet so close for the younger ones.

The future of not only this planet belongs to them. We’re only here to ensure it’s still there when they get to the helm.

What Are The Cool It Down Themes?

A glint. Flash of lights.

Time. All the songs touch on either of these in some way. The album is mostly about the fragility of our world, relationships, and our very existence as such.

How Does The Album Feel?

If you want a verdict, here it is.

Although there are only eight songs and the 32-minute playtime is short, Yeah Yeah Yeahs unload so much you won’t regret your time and keep coming back.

The album is compact, and not a single song feels out of place. It’s one of the unique ones that get all your emotions out. It feeds on your experience and knowledge, luring you to hit the replay button on the album or individual songs again and again.

I can’t wait for the next album already. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait for another decade or so.

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.

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