Highlights: Sacrilege, Subway, Under The Earth, Despair
Another contender for the year’s worst, most tasteless cover, but that is not even what frustrated me so much about Mosquito. No, it has to be the actual music that is a most disturbing combination of the band’s greatest and most appalling songs ever. Which is a shame – because with a little self-restraint this could have been a classic and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ undeniable artistic triumph.
They fucked it up, miraculously. Because the album’s first two songs are the best opening we could hope for. There’s the pummeling, anthemic “Sacrilege” that challenges you with Karen O’s powerful gospel-like singing set against the band’s trademark punk energy and swagger. Perfect single. “Subway” is different: it’s an understated melodic groove with an effective railway rhythm. And then the patchiness sets in. I’m honestly all for the title track that may be ridiculous and over-the-top, but is nevertheless extremely catchy and never too irritating. On the other hand, though, nothing can save the hopeless trash of “Area 52” that is actually physically embarrassing. As is the wasteful and pointless “Buried Alive” (featuring Dr. Octagon – I honestly have no idea). The rapping? Really?
The wicked thing is that it’s all like that. For every breathlessly brilliant and sinister “Under The Earth” you get a bland “Wedding Song” that wouldn’t be out of place at a Eurovision song contest (sorry about that). So frustration indeed; the good points are fantastic, but the bad points are just crap. So add ten to four and divide that by two. Mosquito is an intriguing album, but this time I’m not so sure it’s actually a good thing.