- Audio CD (May 6 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Explicit Lyrics
- Label: Universal Music Canada
- ASIN: B00008VOQM
- Other Editions: Audio CD | LP Record
- Average Customer Review: 177 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,634 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Fever to Tell Explicit Lyrics
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UK edition of the New York art punk's eagerly anticipated 2003 full length debut album includes two bonus tracks, 'Yeah! New York' & 'Date With The Night' (Video). Dress Up/Polydor.
Well before the release of this solid but slender debut, the Brooklyn-based Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the subject of so much international press hype that the White Stripes were probably taking quick, nervous peeks over their shoulders. But while Fever to Tell captures a lot of whats good about the trio--mostly the caterwauling energy of their club shows--it also exposes the bands limitations. Singer Karen O is the undeniable star here, contorting her voice from a primal P.J. Harvey growl to the pre-orgasmic purr of Chrissie Hynde. Nick Zinner chops, slashes, and torpedoes his guitar around, across, and straight at Os voice, while drummer Brian Chase delivers a suitably raw trash-can thump. There are a lot of cool sounds on this 11-song, 37-minuute disc, and enough metallic-KO attitude to make a bare-chested grandpa like Iggy Pop proud. Whats missing is a more varied set of fully fleshed-out songs, the kind it took the White Stripes four albums to write. Hype too early in a career can be terrible burden--ask Liz Phair or, soon enough, the Vines. Better to enjoy Fever to Tell for what it is--an uninhibited blast of garage-rock fury--without swallowing extravagant claims for a potentially great band still under construction. --Keith Moerer
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If anything, the YYY's are the victim of hype, as are so many bands. I mean, the buzz surrounding one EP was a tad ridiculous, and there was no possible way that the YYY's could live up to the praise thrown their way.
Fever To Tell, when all is said and done, is a highly enjoyable piece of neo-garage-punk, as evidenced by the Stooges-like rave-ups of "Date With The Night," "Tick," "Man," and "Pin." While not necessarily ground-breaking, the enthusiastic performance is rather astounding, and Karen O proves a rather adept frontwoman. When Fever To Tell truly shines, it's surprisingly on the more pop-oriented tracks. "Maps" is a brilliant song and single, and if you say otherwise, you're just kidding yourself. "Y Control" is close behind.
Fever To Tell might have been better received without all the hype or had it not been released on a major. There is the distinct possibility of some indie-snobbery at work as some claims directed towards the YYY's (the claims that they're a mass-marketed product, the comparison another reviewer made to Avril Lavigne, etc.) are simply not true. If anything, the YYY's make both The Strokes and White Stripes sound too slick, and although they might be the most conventional of the bands they're affiliated with (the brilliant TV On The Radio and the Liars), it's hardly a bad thing. Fever To Tell is a fun ride and hints at better things to come. Recommended.
To be fair, everyone has to start somewhere. The Yeahx3 aren't bad. They fit well into the same uncomfortably narrow niche as many other garage bands. That definition isn't quite fair, though, as it seems the bulk of the bands that have been lumped together into this genre have little to nothing in common. I'd say the same is true here for the Yeahx3. While their music isn't all that original or earthshattering, there is potential here.
Perhaps the worst part for this band is the fact that everyone will define them by the conventions of the "garage" genre. It fits them (like everyone else lumped together in this category) like a poorly tailored suit.
Music fans that missed The Pretenders, The Clash or any other band that stuck middle finger in the air in defiance, will probably appreciate The Yeah Yeah Yeah's. The buzz that surrounds this is deserved although somewhat premature. Hype has snuffed out the life of many bands before they had the chance to flourish and the same could happen here as well. Hopefully the members of this band will stick to their guns and try to develop their own individual sound.
Although the album isn't all that adventurous (it sticks to very basic melodies and, like the Ramones, keeps the songs to a minimum running time), these folks might just have some merit somewhere down the line. Given time they could potentially make a great album or flame out like dozens of other promising bands. Unfortunately, only time will tell and this album is a bit underwhelming.
But after hearing "Fever to Tell," I've had a slight change of heart. Emphasis on "slight". You see, the band has actually pushed the envelope a bit on what the stripped down, bass-less guitar n' drums line-up can do, and much more importantly, they've managed to hint at potentially greater and more varied stylistic possibilities and refinements.
Most of the album contains the already way too familiar swaggering head-banging, bluesy garage schlock, some of which is decent. "Rich," "Date with the Night," and "Pin" all offer a thoroughly visceral thrill, and the only thing holding the other rockers back is a lack of anything really distinctive or memorable about them. In short: some of the riffage works, some of it falls flat. Sometimes Karen's schtick works, and sometimes it turns the whole thing into a total joke.
But where the album really wins is on the last three songs, most notably "Maps" and "Y Control." Here the band calms down and actually writes a couple of well-developed tunes (as opposed to the usual riffage sludge-fest) which prove catchy, engaging and kinda pretty. But what's really significant about this development is that Karen shows enough tact and taste to *calm down* on these tunes and really *sing*. And when she sings, she sounds amazing. She has a voice full of beauty, character, subtle nuance, and nice emotional range. Not that she sounds [bad] on the rock-out stuff; it's just that her self-conscious yelps, whoops, and shrieks sound calculated, like she's trying too hard, which detracts from the songs, whereas when she *sings* and puts a bit more *feeling* into it, the YYY's show that maybe, just maybe, they have the potential to step out of their self-imposed, limiting stylistic, scene-y corner, and become the kind of band that will grow, and as a result, live to see the next few years.
What makes a band last tends to be its ability to grow and change. To get away from whatever schtick it might've had in the beginning that got everyone's attention in the first place, and continually refine and expand its sound.
As always, there are exceptions to this rule, like the Ramones for example, but the YYY's are not in the same league as the Ramones were in the mid-70s when they were crafting their timeless brand of pop-punk. Nothing the YYY's have done is as crucial, relevant, or catchy. And even the Ramones failed to put out anything of real merit after their first several albums anyhow.
But again, this all comes back to you Karen. Can you cut the callow posing? Can you maybe stop to write some lyrics that go beyond the mindless Vince Neil-esque shock dribble? Or will you merely continue to exist for the sake of whetting the appetites of all the trendy, indie-rock scenesters who suddenly started thinking it was cool to be into Motley Crue a few years ago? What you're doing now cannot last. (And it's been done better: from Pussy Galore to Motley Crue to the Birthday Party to the Stooges etc....) To quote the late, brilliant Marc Bolan, "If you know how to rock, you don't have to shock." I think the YYY's are at a sort of crossroads, and what they do next will be crucial in their development or demise, depending on which route they choose.
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