22. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito
Release date: April 16 Highlights: "Sacrilege," "Despair," "Wedding Song"
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs spastic and soaring Mosquito has the charismatic quality of a fistfight at the supermarket. You just want to get your spicy shrimp chimichangas and get out of there, but you can't help but wait until you see if he's really going to use that pineapple.
Karen O and her troupe of Yeahs are in the midst of fame at this point, a career point surely fraught with anxiety and heady vacillations between rage, empowerment and depression. At least, that's what the album would have us believe. It's brightest spots are not so bright—the sparse instrumentation of "Despair" and "Wedding Song" (the last two songs on the album) leave room for Karen's voice to stretch and yelp at the empty space in front of her, reverb echoing in a gossamer web behind.
When the sound veers towards psychedelic noise-rock, however, they seem to stop short of going all in, retreating to the safe, pointed energy of punk rock. Neither place feels like home, but that resulting schizophrenic sound is a drama all its own, played out across the course of 11 tracks and 47 minutes. Where they go from here is important—but it may only make sense if you hear how they arrived here, at the fork in the road.—Graham Corrigan