Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wait. They don't love you like I love you...

Turn Into video

Gold Lion video

Today I went shopping with my mom and grandma for them to buy me food and get ideas about what to get me for Christmas. And while I look fine, there's nothing so great about my outfit and I don't want to take pictures. So instead, here are some screenshots I took of Karen O and other various pictures from Google images. So if any of these are copyrighted or whatever, my bad. 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs is my favorite band for many reasons, not the least of which being Karen O, possibly the finest living female rock star. Though she would probably hate being called a rock star, because true rock stars are so above all that and stuff, but there's no other easy way to describe her, so there it is. She is a walking, singing, screaming, swooning contradiction with on-stage style that puts any pop star to shame. When she performs she can sift between the sweetness and effervescence of a young ballerina at dance practice and an unapologetic Mic Jagger stomp without a whiff of irony or pretension.

Cheated Hearts video

I wish this image was clearer, this is my favorite outfit. It's from the Y Control video. Watch it if you don't mind fake entrails and homicidal children and other slightly disturbing awesomeness

So you thought Lady Gaga started the whole pantsless thing? Miss O's been doing it for years. (Though she's not strict. There are photos to be found of her pants-clad.) 

What's refreshing, perhaps even admirable about Karen O, is that while she seems to take real joy in being a performer, but has no interest in being pretty. Not that prettiness is inherently bad, but for her it seems to take a backseat to putting on a show. Not a staged, choreographed, planned to the minutiae show, but a from-the-guts good time where she's just doing what she loves. 

Oh, you thought Ke$ha started that headdress thing? Sorry, no. It was Karen O.

In the context of the music, it makes sense. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are controlled chaos set to music--at least  in the case of Fever to Tell, Is Is, and their self-titled (often referred to as Master) EP. If the only Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs you know are Maps and Turn Into, their two most commercially successful, pick up any of those three albums and be ready to get smacked upside the head with New York punk. I don't actually listen to any other punk, but this stuff is crazy good. Yet despite their early days, where an oft-druken Karen O would somehow masterfully stumble through set after killer live set, their penchant for quieter songs on 2006's Show Your Bones delivers just as strong as any earlier work. And it seems that the more they dial down the crazy in their albums, the stronger Karen O dials it up in her stage wardrobe. 

It's Blitz tour photos

Yeah, so Lady Gaga doesn't have a corner on the crazy headpiece market either. 

Why do I love Karen O so much? I can't say that I would ever want to dress like her, because her stagewear is so far from my own sense of style it would be difficult to bring them together. What I am most drawn to is her unapologetic gusto when it comes to dressing. There is no compartmentalizing. She dresses like she sings, she performs like she lives. Nothing about her is mainstream except perhaps by accident. She doesn't look like a girl singer should look. She doesn't dance like a girl should dance. She doesn't always sing pretty. But there is nothing, nothing, nothing contrived about her, and not a hint of celebrity in her persona. I think that's what is so striking about her. Utter and naked honesty in her performances that reveal as much dirt as glitter, in contrast to the mystery of a personal life which isn't lived in the public eye. 

And come on. You gotta love the haircut.


  1. Beautiful expose on a woman I am going to have to listen to at least once just on your recommendation. By the way, I thought of you a week or two ago when I was introduced to a new Indie Pop-ish band that immediately made me think of you. Now, I know you are far more cultured in music than I am, so I'm not sure if I'm going out on an embarrassing limb here, but really I am not in the least bit worried about embarrassing myself. So, if you have a minute and haven't listened before to Cosmic Love by Florence & The Machine, give a listen for me and let me know if you like it. At least you will know that I was thinking of you every time I listened to it, which was a lot. :)

  2. I have been hearing all about Florence + The Machine, but I have yet to check them out. Thanks for the tip...maybe it will be the final push I need to finally do it. You might start with Show Your Bones if your interested in Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The earlier stuff is pretty intense, and their most recent (It's Blitz) was disappointingly mediocre with a few really good songs. I also suggest the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids. It's a hugely underrated soundtrack that was underutilized in the film. There's one song on it I might use someday when I get married.

  3. she is amazing and the band continues to impress me. I love their tune modern romance on the fever to tell album. Beautiful.

  4. as a fellow karen o fanatic a cannot possibly disagree with a single thing you have said!