Album Review: Karen O—“Crush Songs”

By Ayla Shiblaq

Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O releasing an album of love songs, or, “crush songs,” is the moment we’ve all been waiting for – at least I have. Karen O has a knack for writing simple love songs, from “Maps” on Fever to Tell to the more recent, “Moon Song,” for Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her.

The album, titled Crush Songs, opens with “Don’t tell me they’re all the same, cuz’ even the sound of his name carries me over their reach, which honestly sounds like a fifth grade poem. Still, it’s the ideal opening to what is a raw look into a crush. From then, Karen O brings us a fair share of sing-a-long lines including, “Yeah I’d rather have my baby much much closer to me lately” in “NYC Baby,” to my personal favourite from “Rapt,” “Love is soft. Love’s a fucking bitch.”

Crush Songs is extremely short, but its length is justified. In a way, this album is just like a crush: short and sweet, and not at all satisfying. I don’t mean this negatively; I admire this intentional, or perhaps unintentional, detail that adds a significant charm to the album. The album captures the feelings of developing a crush – the initial infatuation, the “wow everything sucks because I feel something,” to the “wow crushes rock!!! #inlove.” The lo-fi production adds a charming quality to this album, bringing it to a more personal level.

While Karen O succeeds in establishing the vibe of a crush and evoking feelings, from catharsis to nostalgia, I found the album lacklustre at times. The simplicity of the album was charming, but the album needs more dimension to keep listeners interested. Fifth grade poems are adorable, but they’re not necessarily memorable.

Crush Songs succeeds in bringing forth emotion – predictable or not. For those crushing on someone, needing the re-assurance and moments to bask in the feelings associated with a crush, this album is nothing of that sort. Despite being bitterly but gratefully out of this “love thing” for a while, Crush Songs makes me nostalgic for a time where I can reflect on the days when crushes were easy and one large hazy dream. If you’re as melancholic as I am and think feeling anything exceptional is “literally the worst thing to ever happen to you,” then this album is perfect. (Cult)


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