Articles tagged with Karen O

Karen O mellows out

Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are: Motion Picture Soundtrack
Karen O has built her reputation on having the best scream in indie rock, and her performances on songs like “Art Star” and “Tick” won’t be forgotten anytime soon. But as well as her scream, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman has also got a heart wrenching croon, and her fragile emoting made “Maps” one of the best songs of the decade.

On her soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are, Karen O explores this soft side, favouring Cat Stevens-inspired folksiness over noisy post-punk fireworks. For these mellow songs, she is joined by “the Kids,” an all-star cast that includes her YYY’s bandmates plus members of Deerhunter, Liars and the Raconteurs, among others. “Worried Shoes” is a stark ballad, Karen O’s breathy voice falling in and out of tune over the haunting plunking of a piano. “Hidaway” is equally chilling, subtle organ providing an atmospheric backdrop for a vocal line that follows the gentle plucking of an acoustic guitar. Her voice is so naked and intimate that listening almost feels like an invasion of privacy, an effect that’s just as unsettling as any scream she could muster.

Even the album’s upbeat songs are touched by this vulnerability. Lead single “All Is Love” races past at a gallop, but despite its brisk tempo, the accompanying children’s choir means that the song is a far cry from the bravado of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The album’s other rockers are similarly child-like, and the atmosphere is always one of innocence rather than anger.

All of the tracks are enjoyable, but it’s important to remember that it’s a soundtrack, not a typical album. Consequently, there are various instrumental snippets that disrupt the flow of the collection rather than enhance it. Tracks like “Lost Fur” and “The Food Is Still Hot” will doubtless sound great in the background of the film, but here they feel more like unfinished sketches than stand-alone songs. These songs will likely sound better once the movie is released and they can be heard in context. As it is, the soundtrack is an exciting departure for an artist better known for her bombast than her tenderness.

Where the Wild Things Are: Motion Picture Soundtrack is out now via DGC/Interscope.
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