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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Number 4 - "Maps", Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen O, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Fever to Tell (2004)

And didn't this lot burst well out of the blocks. It's hard to believe a track this polished came from anyone's debut album.

This deserves its spot here as much as anything for being the pinnacle of the short-lived but significant mid-decade 'garage punk revival' that also spawned the likes of The Strokes, The Black Keys, The Hives, White Stripes, etc.

It's beauty is in its ability to maintain a rock tempo while at the same time being so utterly languid in most of its elements. From the blissed out guitar treble that mutates just occasionally into a big dirty solo, to Karen O allowing her otherwise perfectly tempered voice to run occasionally just that tiny bit out of control "theydontloveyoulikeiloveyou" this song ebbs and flows perfectly, and our emotions with it.

The song navigates effortlessly territory that sinks most pop music - that between sentimentality and affectation. Maps' power is in its ability to linger in the former without invoking the latter.

It achieves this in its fairly raw simplicity, exquisite production and above all else in Karen O's extraordinary vocal. She was without doubt one of the greatest new such talents the decade produced, and I submit the following evidence....