The Buzz

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Zero proves Karen O is ready for her close-up

Categories: Music

Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

Ever since I first saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform live in 2004, I’ve been waiting for frontwoman Karen O to make her move from indie darling to international rock star status.

As she strutted around the stage at Toronto's Phoenix concert theatre that cold February night, letting loose with characteristic alley-cat-in-heat screeches and pausing only to feed a piece of birthday cake to an adoring fan in the front row, Karen O exuded limitless charisma and energy, With her jet-black bangs and cartoonish crimson lips, she was like Debbie Harry's dark flipside: a diva for the new millennium.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs seemed to know it, too. How else to explain the lyric on their 2006 single, Cheated Hearts, which found Karen O declaring: “Sometimes, I think that I’m bigger than the sound.”

News of the impending Yeah Yeah Yeahs album has kept me in a state of giddy anticipation for months. If the cover art (a photo of a sunny egg yolk, exploding mid-air) and the exclamation-pointed title (It’s Blitz!) are any indication, the trio's latest promises to be as scruffy, anarchic and fun as any three-chord outing from the CBGB’s-era Ramones.

Though It’s Blitz! does not officially hit stores until April, the band recently made the album available for download on its site. A more in-depth look at the record will undoubtedly appear here at a later date, but until that time, I had to share the video for the album’s first single, Zero.

If this energetic, infectious first clip – which follows O as she prowls, jumps, dances and sashays her way across the grungy city streets after dark – is any indication, Ms. O is most definitely ready for her close-up.

--Lee Ferguson

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