Link to Melissa Maerz's Review of It's Blitz! by Yeah Yeah YeahsArtist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Album: It’s Blitz!

Reviewer: Melissa Maerz

Blender, 2009

Writing Disorders: Purple Hemorrhage, Jargon Palsy

Funniest Line: “quasi-orgasmic vocals”

Most Emo Phrase: “Whatever it was, it’s something else now. And that something sounds like bliss.”

Melissa, I think the main issue here is that you’re trying to be a beat poet in the confines of the English essay. And when people try that, they get really silly-sounding results like:

“her band serves up boiling-oil guitar bursts and clobbering beats”

“The record was beset by bickering”

“trades his two-sticks-of-dynamite thwack for…”

You know what this sounds like? It sounds like the stuff that Ron Burgundy says to warm up for the news. Remember? The arsonist has oddly shaped feet!

Oh, but you were serious. In that case, it’s more sad than funny.

Let’s get into your metaphors.

“Heads Will Roll,” which jerks like a Factory Records 7-inch”

…ok, I’m going to assume you MEANT this as a reference to some bygone company that put out weird mini-records, but it sounds to the layman like you’re talking about a  dildo. The words “jerk” and “7-inch” don’t usually meet in casual sentence structure outside of the bedroom. That’s all I’m saying.

Here’s another time you mention something less-than-clear.

“her words could’ve come from an Anaïs Nin paperback.”

So for those of us who are Nin virgins, we have to research the author and peruse one of the books just to figure out your metaphor? Sorry, Meliss, I’m going to take a rain check on that one. And one more thing. The only time you wander outside the confines of Canterbury Tales grammar is to say “could’ve?” That is the hands down clunkiest contraction in the history of written English. [to people who can think of a worse one, Jesus, I didn’t major in Middle English. You WIN]

Then you say some things that just plain get me wondering

“quasi-orgasmic vocals”

I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the root word of “orgasmic,” but it’s kind of a black and white issue. You know, either it’s orgasmic or it’s…regular. Now just ask yourself whether Karen O’s voice made you explode with pleasure inside. If you answered “no,” then just write “Karen O didn’t bring me past the threshold of climax.” Or better yet, just say you LIKE the vocals.

And of course there are moments that just made me chuckle.

“Zinner has stopped wielding his guitar like a flamethrower (at times he even abandons it altogether)”

Yes, imagine Nick Zinner in the alien queen’s chamber. Just as an egg opens behind him with that slimy sound, he cocks his head and starts spraying staccato notes all over the queen’s brood! Launch a moaning string bend into her ovipositor, man!

Melissa, I’ll end this on a note that I think all music writers would profit to consider. Here you write that Subject A) Nick Zinner, 139 lbs:

“lends a blinking, West African-esque melody to “Dragon Queen”

I often wonder what music critics would do without “esque.” What you would have written if you couldn’t say “West African-esque?”

would you just say…

…it sounded kind of black?

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