She’s the glitter coated, howling front woman with eccentric outfits (think pre-Lady Gaga) and a vibrancy that came across when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed, that’s how most of us know Karen O.
So with the release of her solo album on Julian Casablancas Cult Records label, we get to know a whole new side of her.
Recorded back in 2006 and throughout, Crush Songs is like a rough draft/demos of sorts, which is already an arduous process. The initial raw emotion can be lost when re-recording either because it’s often difficult to recreate or maybe another route was taken. Karen has kept that rawness on her album and songwriting process which is unlike anything you imagined she’d do in her art-punk days with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
We’re able to be let in so intimately into Karen’s world of heartache as well as her healing process, which is a rare thing that’s usually unheard of. Crush Songs expresses common feelings one goes through in a relationship, both the wonderfully beautiful side and the heartbreaking bad side.
My standouts are:
Ooo starts with the opening line “1, 2.. Don’t tell me they’re all the same,” it’s that inevitable heartbreak pep talk you have with a friend that most likely will say something along the lines of ‘you got to get back out there, there’s plenty more fish in the sea’.
Rapt is the exact opposite, it’s the album’s lead single that everyone can relate to especially with a line like“love’s a fucking bitch, do I really need another habit like you.” It’s the quintessential love/hate feeling one has either when going through a breakup or just simply having a crush on someone you don’t exactly want to have.
“Y’know growing up in these modern times ain’t easy” … There’s a self-realization that follows every heartbreak, that ah-ha moment if you will, and in Native Korean Rock, Karen has hers. With a line of advice like “you can’t throw punches, kid, when you’re sitting on your hands”.
I enjoyed the entire album, Crush Songs is almost like Karen O’s musical diary, you feel as though you’re going through the process alongside her. You too are going through the fragmented bittersweet memories, the day dreams of better days as well as the hopeful possibilities of the future. Crush Songs is a glimpse into the private pages one wouldn’t normally see publicly but you’re almost relieved you did because you understand and relate to her emotions that she put together.
We all go through crushes and moments of brief or intense infatuation for someone we can’t have.“That’s why they call them crushes, if they were easy they’d call them something else.”