ALBUM REVIEW: Karen O – Crush Songs
Karen O front woman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who is infamously known for her eccentricity, releases her first solo full-length album ‘Crush Songs’. However chronologically Karen O wrote and recorded the LP in private back in 2006-2007 having broken up with Spike Jonze the year before. The break-up which fueled her to write these intimate, lo-fi angst filled songs.
As Karen O explains “When I was 27, I crushed a lot. I wasn’t sure I’d ever fall in love again. These songs were written and recorded in private around this time. They were the soundtrack to what was an ever continuing love crusade. I hope they keep you company on yours.”
I was quite disappointed in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last album ‘Mosquito’ which is quite mellow compared to their previous albums such as ‘It’s a Blitz!’ The only song on Mosquito being ‘Sacrilege’ worthy of listening to in my opinion. With its choir and up-beat riffs we started to see a change from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs usual rock and indie-electro style.
Skeptical on how O’s solo album would sound we see how Karen O articulates her raw emotion during her time of dark despair and anguish. Opening with the song ‘Ooo’ Karen O’s vocals carry you through her journey of pain. Beautifully sung with O’s raspy vocals accompanied by an acoustic guitar ‘Ooo’ certainly captivates despite the underlying tone of melancholy.
Many of the songs could be considered as snippets, a glimpse into O’s thoughts or a sketch if you like ‘Rapt’ is my favourite song from the album with the lyrics “Love is soft, Love’s a fucking bitch”, “Do I really need another habit like you?”. I’m sure many can relate to O’s heartfelt cry, however ‘Crush Songs’ is definitely not for everybody. ‘Beast’ is quite painful to listen to as O’s vocals shrieks with intense agonising outbursts. ‘Visits’ is probably the most up-beat sounding track on the album which is a relief to listen to.
Overall ‘Crush Songs’ convey a poignant tale of heartbreak and despair as if Karen O had been enthralled by an abyss of darkness ever longing to see the light. The album doesn’t come without those clichés that are associated when someone breaks your heart. So unless you like hearing sob stories I think only the hardcore Karen O fans will be adding her debut album to their collection. I won’t let this put me off though, granted O did record this back in 2006/07. I still enjoyed the lo-fi croaky vocals and chronic strumming of an acoustic guitar.
‘Crush Songs’ is out 9th September
Karen O UK tour dates
4th October London Bush Hall
5th October London Bush Hall.