Karen O’s, lead singer of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, released her first-ever solo material earlier this year. Her album Crush Songs (2014) is wonderfully atmospheric, simultaneously funny, hopeful, and sad. It’s hard to believe the prototypical rocker we’ve come to know her as could create such aching, intimate music. Everything about Crush Songs is quietly forceful and fiercely honest.
Apart from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O is also notable for her contributions to Spike Jonze’s Her (2013). She recoded “The Moon Song” for the film, accompanied by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. Her work earned her an Oscar Nomination. Spike Jonze and Karen O used to date, but remain close friends; he even put together an impromptu music video for one of her songs on Crush Songs, featuring Elle Fanning and the New York Metropolitan Opera House.
Crush Songs plays like a diary or like a conversation had late at night in the dark. It’s rough, but contain something rare in its hushed, dreamy honesty. Listening to the album in its entirety will leave you dazed and thoughful. Key tracks include: “Ooo,” “Body,” and “Days Go By.”
Crush Songs is available for listening on Spotify, YouTube, and NPR.
– Jenny Henderson