Karen O, “Crush Songs”
Whenever a member of a band announces a solo record, there is a collective nervousness within the music world that this might be the beginning of the end for that beloved group. Through Crush Songs, her first proper venture into the solo world, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O simultaneously proves that there is more to her than meets the (brightly made-up) eye, and that this delicate LP does not threaten the high voltage existence of her New York garage-punk trio.
Crush Songs is a collection of O’s private demos about, you guessed it, her personal relationship with romantic loss and longing. The fifteen tracks feel fragile and intimate, with the familiar digital sounds of a Mac volume button and a drum machine making appearances on the album. The trip into O’s shoe box is most effective when she is solely singing about heartache; tracks like “King” and “Native Korean Rock” seem forced, and trivial, compared to these quiet confessions. While there are some poignant numbers including “Ooo,” “Comes the Night,” and the LP’s excellent single “Rapt,” Crush Songs is too fragmented to truly make an impact in the already crowded field of heartbreak albums.