by Emma Shepard (@steely_dan_69)
On Fever To Tell (Deluxe Remastered), we get an intimate glimpse into Yeah Yeah Yeahs humble beginnings alongside their energetic and iconic debut album. The remastered tracks are further polished while retaining much of the grit that initially endeared listeners to the New York City trio.
The album is introduced with "Rich," a grungy, heavy track with swirling keyboard layers. It perfectly sets the tone for the beginning of the album, which maintains a high energy level with shimmering guitar riffs and Karen O's signature, expressive lead vocals acting as the driving force behind each song. On "Man," Karen O uses theatrical falsetto vocals juxtaposed with an almost spoken-word approach to the verses and shows a range of sounds and feeling.
Perhaps the most conspicuous display of Karen O's versatility is "Maps." At this point, the song has been overplayed if you ever played Guitar Hero or had a Myspace profile - because it was certainly one of your Myspace friend's profile song - but listening to it within the context of the album reminds me of what a prominent impression it left on me upon my first time hearing it. In the midst of chaotic rock songs, this understated ballad feels like a sour candy turning sweet. The song captures a desperation and sadness with such simple instrumentation, vocals, and lyrical content - which is mostly one line being repeated throughout the 3 minute 40 second track: "wait / they don't love you like I love you." The quiet, reflective break sets up "Y Control" to be the next stand-out track, as it comes back in with a bang and anticipates the end of the album.
The four-track demos on this deluxe edition are seemingly much less for listening pleasure and more for a point-of-reference for where the group began. They are lo-fi past the point of it passing as "bedroom rock," however, seeing where some of these classic songs started is nothing short of fascinating.
The deluxe edition is carefully remastered, polishing the album (but not too much) and bringing out its strongest elements. The demos take the listeners back to the band's practice space in the early 2000s - making their debut tour-de-force an even more impressive feat - seeing a clumsy, rough idea become an indie rock masterpiece.