Karen O comes to in the latest video from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a woozy crescendo that ends in “Despair,” off the band’s most recent Mosquito. The video opens with Oh at the tail end of a bender, in the midst of that glorious delirium that comes about an hour or two before the hangover begins. She runs through the song a cappella while finding her footing, eventually stumbling out into the early dawn to reconvene with bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase on top of the Empire State Building.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the first band to ever shoot in that space, but they do well not to get too excited by the accomplishment. We stay close in with the band as the song builds and the sun rises. It’s not until the last notes ring out that the Empire State Reveals itself as such, immediately distinguishable despite revealing only the smallest slice of its sky-scraping mass. Karen O had this to say of the experience:
“I felt like I could give as personal a performance because of our history together. It was important to us that it felt intimate despite being filmed at one of NYC’s most famous landmarks and an international cultural icon. It was my first-ever trip up to the top of the ESB, top of the world, we were up there from 3am to sunrise, I’m guessing very few get to see that view from up there at those hours.
“I gotta say I had a ‘the impossible is possible’ moment up there with Nick and Brian. If someone would have sat us down at the Mars Bar years back and told us that we’d be performing our music on the top of the Empire State Building one day, we probably would have thought that’s the stuff that dreams are made of, not us, no way.”