Published Sep 05, 2014As vocalist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O delights in finding moments of fragility amongst her band's fury. Though she can be as fierce the most ferocious of punk sirens, it's little surprise that it was Fever to Tell's "Maps" that made her into an indie superstar. After grabbing your attention with force through the album's first eight songs, she begged, softly, for you to "wait" and listen to her at her most intimate, her most restrained.
Crush Songs is O's first solo album — following contributions to Spike Jonze's films Where the Wild Things Are and Her — and it's all restraint, all fragility. Written and recorded in private eight years ago, the record is an admittedly amateurish document of a period in O's life in which, according to the album's accompanying note on her website, she "crushed a lot. I wasn't sure I'd ever fall in love again."
That warm, lovelorn sentiment, matched with the lo-fi hum of its guitar tones, makes Crush Songs an easy listen, as does its 25-minute running time; only three of its 15 songs cross the two-minute mark. Its best tracks, like "Body" and "Ooo," are hummable and sweet, but much of the record plays like a series of short acoustic interludes: pretty, at times insightful, but evanescent more often than not. (Cult)