Saturday, October 10, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000s entry #21: Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs scared the hell out of me.

Oddly enough - and I'm certain this may be the last time this ever happens - I discovered this song through its music video. Seeing the ultra cool trio rollick about in that school auditorium had me fearing for my youth.

At long last, merely 25 years old, my younger days were over, masacred at the hands of a vegan-skinny guitarist with tragically hip hair, a drummer doing that left hand, under hand, drumstick....thing, and Karen O. She's truly the enigma. Am I to take her seriously? Is it an act? Is that what cool looks like? Why is she so reluctant to hold a note?
Oh say-say-say. Owh, say-say-say.....

Seriously, are they The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or just Yeah Yeah Yeahs?

It's official. I was becoming an old man.

* * *

Following the CPA Christmas party, back when the partners used to encourage carpooling en masse to any bar - the Hard Rock Cafe in this case - I was suited up and talking to some transplant from Knightstown about the perils of builiding a home.

On comes the video for "Maps." I stood upon my seat and shushed the entire actuarial crowd. "Quiet. You're about to watch the best song of the year."

My wife quickly retrieved me. She's the CPA.

* * *

There is no magic formula at work. "Maps" is a simple soul baring. But music lovers can't help looking further.

Do you remember that in early 1996 there was a bevy of songs using martial snare drums? (Think "The Freshmen" by the Verve Pipe.) It's hard to imagine a drum part being trendy, but it was. Either marching band alums all formed bands about 1993, or somebody had a bad case of the copy-cats.

The drums in "Maps" were begging to be reproduced across the indie landscape. Of course I know it's kind of hard to fabricate some novelty in 4/4 time, but after this song I could faintly hear a rash of irregular heartbeats on the horizon much like the proliferation of mid-chorus rapping circa 1989. Therein is the power of "Maps." It's one of the best songs of all time, prime for dissection. But it's also begging to be accepted for the heartbreaking love song it is.

For God's sake stop this! "Wait. They don't love you like I love you." Who gives a shit what the drums sound like?

I could see some NYU hipster trying to break up with his girlfriend from Maine only to get lost in his wonkish love for any Dick Dale-esque guitar line.

Dumb sucker, "Your kind's my kind." Quit gizzing over her mesmerizing wanness. Don't analyze, Kreskin. Listen.

* * *

Living in Indiana and feeling old doesn't usually add much weight to a statement like, "You're about to watch the best song of the year." So I suggest you stop worrying about whether Karen O is Asian or Irish. Stop fussing over some imaginary balance of Propecia and hair gel. Stop worrying whether or not (the) Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the vanguard of your new adulthood.

Just sit back and listen for the next 3:40.

If it makes you feel any better, put on your black t-shirt.

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