Karen O: Crush Songs? O Dear…

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s very own, wonderfully talented Karen O has released a solo album titled Crush Songs just this past September but I’m disappointed.

I’d always respected the sound of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s but my interest instantly sparked in Karen O after exposing myself to ‘The Moon Song’ which was written for Spike Jonze’s Her (2014).  Her soft melodic voice adds lovely romance that fills the film with such emotion. I couldn’t fault the song, it is mesmerising.

Now Crush Songs is a very deceiving album name: the album is a collection of Karen O’s earlier material which were written during a period of her life where she simply felt ‘crushed’.  Which to be fair is a nice way to get her feelings out, like a self therapy move. Good on you Karen O!

Karen O


However, after some research I’ve found that most songs on this album were actually released several years prior under her Native Korean Rock project. Why does this re-release seem like a lazy move on her part?

Maybe it’s to do with the actual content?

The album consists of 15 songs that barely last longer than 2 minutes. These short, flat melodies are meant to come across as charming and vulnerable but they just seem unfinished and well, incredibly monotonous. There is almost no distinction between each song. There is definitely a ‘demo’ like feel to the album, and not in a good way. For some reason even the simple acoustic strumming that shapes this album just adds feelings of detachment and almost sucks out the emotion.

The only song I genuinely feel that is worth mentioning is ‘Rapt’. It is the diamond among the dirt: it manages to put across Karen O’s emotional vulnerability, laments about through the grittiness of the audio and the crooning of lyrics such as “Off goes the switch, love is soft, love’s a fucking bitch.”  I’ll even forgive her the fact that it doesn’t even last the full 2 minutes.

Now it would be too much to state that I wish I had never heard this album in it’s entirety but I expected a lot better, especially since Julian Casablancas released it under his very own Cult Records.

I’m hoping for more ‘Moon Song’ than ‘Day Go By’ next time.


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