We haven’t had too many opportunities to talk about new Yeah Yeah Yeahs bangers in recent years, so this is an exciting one. The YYYs, the great New York rockers of yore, returned to the stage earlier this year. In June, they dropped the Perfume Genius collaboration “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World,” their first new song in nine years, and they announced plans to release a new album called Cool It Down. Today, we get to hear the second single from Cool It Down, and it’s a good one.
“Burning” is a grand, dramatic rocker. Its ominous intro swells up until the beat finally drops, and then the track becomes a disco banger dipped in synth-strings. This is the YYYs in It’s Blitz! mode, and they still know how to give some teeth to what’s essentially a club-pop track. Andrew Wyatt, the Miike Snow frontman and Lady Gaga/Bruno Mars collaborator, produced “Burning,” and a press release claims that it’s “inspired by” the Four Seasons’ 1967 single “Beggin’.” Here’s what Karen O has to say about “Burning”:
Back when I was 19 living in the East Village, one night a roommate dragged me out of the apartment for an impromptu drink across the street. I left a votive candle burning on a plastic yaffa block, which in my absence set flame to my room. Within an hour and a half of having one drink down the block, firefighters had come and gone, extinguishing the fire. I came home to find that a natural disaster had occurred (to my room) and most of my stuff lost in the flames. All electronic goods were melted and demolished, like my laptop, cameras, etc. But oddly enough, the items that held the most sentimental value remained intact, like sketchbooks, a favorite sweater with hearts across the chest, and photographs. I had photos of my parents in their youth where the fire burnt around the two of them as if there was some intangible force field protecting them — many photos like that, mysteriously leaving the beloved subjects untouched.
If the world is on fire, I hope the most beloved stay protected and that we do all we can to protect what we cherish most in this life. “Burning” is a song about that feeling, smoke signals for the soul. Begging to cool it down, just doing it the best we know how. Nick and I nodded to Frankie Valli’s “Beggin’,” with the line “oooh, lay your red hand on me, baby.” We’ve cut a rug to many a soulful ’60s bangers in our day; it was in our DNA by the time we wrote “Burning.”
Listen to “Burning” below.
Cool It Down is out 9/30 on Secretly Canadian. Pre-order it here.