Sammy the Seal

“Can’t say why I kept this from you”

In music videos, vinyl on Sunday, 3 March, 2013 at 14:49

Song: Turn Into
Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: Show Your Bones

Thank you to Easy Street for playing this song as I walked in the store, else I wouldn’t have been compulsively listening to this for the last six weeks. I guess it’s serendipity as much as anything, as it’s the final track on the album and  I happened to walk in on the solo halfway through the song. Regardless, hooray for record stores!

Every album is a progression for any performer, but this album and song feels less calculated than their debut. The brash, saucy vixen seemed all affectation to me. Despite a few good songs, that attitude rubbed me the wrong way when I wasn’t unimpressed by it. This one feels truer and more measured; it’s not all edge. As far as the more emotional songs go, this, just by comparison, blows “Maps” out of the water. The vocals are affecting and sincere, complementing the confessions and perspective of the lyrics. It’s pretty obviously (to me) about opening up/letting go, and I especially love the bridge, where the lyrics have gone from her not finishing her lines, to straight candor:

“Can’t say why I kept this from you
My, those quiet eyes become you
Leave it where it can’t remind us
Turn this all around behind us
Well I know
I’ll fall right in to keep you out,
I’d like to tell you all about it” (awesome crescendo in her voice on the very end of this line)

Between this and “Hysteric”, they certainly have a knack for mature reconciliation (call me an idealist, or at least optimist) love songs, which aren’t the sexiest or happiest, but feel more honest. The latter is more subdued and has less immediacy, but only by comparison. They both have a sense of acceptance and lessons learned that inform the song and give it some truth and realism. There’s a certain perspective that can only come with a fair amount of maturity and frankness with oneself, and these two are laced with it. It’s the process of moving from “I know what I know” and “keep that kind of window closed”, to “hope I do turn into you” and “I’d like to tell you all about it”, and maybe to “turn into the only thing you ever know”.

Of course, all that touchy-feely would be ultimately moot if the song weren’t danceable as hell. Which it is. It’s the first thing I noticed when I first heard the full song. This is a highly dynamic song. The fast, short strumming and steady, moderate gallop of the drums are rhythmically addictive and keep things moving. I can’t say it enough, but I really like when there’s some drive and muscle behind a song that elevates it from the level of mere prettiness and “aww!” It has that at heart, but it’s rockin’ too. What good is sentiment without conviction and a grounded attitude? That being said, the piano that starts just after 1:30 is too sweet, and how better to follow it up than with a squealing, spacey, awesome solo. The high notes that guitar hits from there until the end…. ah yeah. Lots of delicious noise at the end of the song. The drum fills at the end of the solo and at 3:19, where it kicks off the coda, are old as the hills, but who cares, I’m glad they put them there. They’re non-gratuitous, simple, and satisfying. I think this may well be their best song (pending the coming release).

I like the video– simple, hazy, colorful, and a little joyful, too. I’ve heard Karen O is as exuberant and expressive live as she is here, it’s a good look. The floating band near the end is some good goofy. Even Nick Zinner, sturm-und-drang-looking brooding with his foofy hairstyle and all, smiles at 3:23! I love that stuff. Count me for enjoying what you’re doing rather than posturing. I hate to reduce her to “cute”, but she looks cute here. Unabashed dancing always score points with me.


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