The Songs We Can't Escape

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Heads Will Roll"

Never been much into the club scene, me; too much social noise and flash and chaos. But "Heads"—with its night-pulse rush and coy "Blue Monday" swipes—does an apt job of capturing what a manic Saturday eve on, over, and under the town probably feels like while rolling (with the right posse, on the right handshake drugs) "little deaths," murder-machine metaphors, scattered glitter, and hard partying into a tasty little Snack Time referent-wrap. Posh! Decadent! Catchy!


There's a hair-thin line between ineptitude and brilliance, and this band walks it very cautiously, like Ecstatic Peace! signee Tam on stabilizing meds. "I'll put your things all over the floor/If I jump off my bed, I can smash it all," frontwoman Mica Levy sings, and she comes across so calm that I believe she'd totally do it—and worse—to whoever this lower-stakes "Rid of Me" is actually about.


He's a Gen Z smart-ass; she's a bland flavor-of-the-month that college freshwomen somehow haven't tired of yet. But together—and how weird is this, anyway?—they whipped up a tender-if-dippy duet that's adult-contemp MOR's modern answer to "No Air" or "Umbrella." Cute! Subtract the romantic/sexual intimations here and "Lucky" is something I'd dedicate to my own best friend. Sanjeevani, are you reading along out there?


I'd grown so used to bands showing up on Saturday Night Live and sucking hard that Phoenix's appearance registered as charming, accomplished, a conversion, even. Bouyant "Lisztomania" (indirectly about Franz Liszt, not about lists) is blessed with the kind of bucolic, effortless melody that leads one to daydream about it when it's not actively causing one's head to spin.


The trick here is that Wilt either taped a monsoon or simulated one very carefully, then stitched in a great deal of stormy, gray noise and keyb-spun delirium in the background, and eventually—"Floodplain" is in the neighborhood of 12 minutes long—each element assumes an equal partnership in a mix that evokes damp, abandoned streets and out-of-control waterways.