What makes a good comeback? Is it when the much-missed artist comes out with music that’s a welcome return to their old sound? Or when they take a step in an entirely new sonic direction, throwing the fanbase into uncharted territory? After nine years away, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs make their return to the scene with Cool It Down, an admittedly short project that calls back to the band’s most familiar works, while also heating things up with some intriguing new risks. It’s an invigorating comeback that burns brightly, but ends just as quickly.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ music has always been a mix of rock music that aches with emotion thanks to lead singer Karen O’s vocal talents. Even looking back on their 2003 hit “Maps,” it’s a repetitive song that still manages to make a killer impact thanks to O’s delivery. On Cool It Down, the band gets deeper into their lyricism, as they rally against the earth’s destruction on lead single “Spitting Off the Edge of the World”. “Cowards, here’s the sun,” O spits at leaders who have been stagnant on making any sort of change.
On “Wolf,” the most bombastic song of the record, O compares herself to the titular animal before guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase explode the song into something entirely different, as intense strings and pulsing synth envelop everything. It’s Cool It Down at its most exciting.
The album is just eight tracks long, with the closer “Mars” being a poem that O recites instead of a song involving any sort of melody. It’s a bit of a bummer of an ending, as those who have waited for the band’s return for so long may feel a little unsatisfied. But hey, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back. Let’s take what we can get.