Born in New York City in 2000, Yeah Yeah Yeahs took their place in the post-punk spotlight as the genre’s leading figure, and they’ve come back after nine long years with Cool It Down, a cinematic rock experience that showcases why so many cite them as an influence. Karen O (vocalist, pianist), Nick Zinner (guitarist, keyboardist), and Brian Chase (dummer) released Cool It Down on September 30, 2022 under Secretly Canadian, the album named after a Velvet Underground song, and it’s an eight-track collection of innovative, modern rock.
The album starts off with “Spitting Off the Edge of the World”, a collaboration with Perfume Genius, and its out-of-this-world beat is jarring in the best way possible, an iconic synth individual to YYYs. It’s a song aimed to show the struggles of the youth as they try to navigate a broken world. O slows down her pace with Perfume Genius to sing, “Mama, what have you done?/ I trace your steps/ In the darkness of one/ Am I what’s left?”
The second song, “Lovebomb”, is a nod to psychedelic punk, a slow trip into a dreamscape. The following song, “Wolf”, changes the tempo with its steady, electro beat in a track about feeling lonely: “I’m lost and I’m lonely/ I hunger for you only/ Don’t leave me now, don’t break the spell/ In Heaven, lost my taste for Hell.”
“Blacktop”, the sixth track on Cool It Down, is the slowest on the whole album, a mellow-rock piece about being trapped in a relationship. The song’s slow synth paired with O’s melodic voice fabricates a lyrical journey in, “Oh, as I was young and easy/ In the mercy of his means/ Time held me green and dying/ Though I sang in my chains like the sea.”
Throughout the album, YYYs keep a pattern of following legato tracks with upbeat, rockable songs, seen in the seventh number “Different Today”. It’s a steady, modern-punk tune with O’s repetition of “I feel different today” to describe the band’s musical shift from their last album to now. Cool It Down ends with “Mars”, a spoken word poetry piece about living a simple life and still seeing the beauty in everything. “I watched my favorite show tonight/ The dance the light does on the sea’s ever-shifting surface/ Golden tunnel beckoning.” Nine years on, Yeah Yeah Yeahs still asserts their place in the world of modern post-punk with another album ready to take listeners on a futuristic trip that somehow feels like home.