The Renegade Rip

Karen O’s breakout album just so so

Elizabeth Castillo, Reporter

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Known for her wild and manic antics as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman, Karen O somewhat misses the mark in her gentle, lo-fi solo debut, “Crush Songs.”

The record begins with “Ooo,” a lullaby-like song that is soft and sweet, similar to the growing emotions of a crush. However, the track that follows the agreeable opener isn’t nearly as impressive. “Rapt” leaves me feeling confused. While at first the song seems promising with the juxtaposition of profane lyrics aptly describing love set to a gentle tune, it ends with a jarring yelp that feels misplaced and detracts from the sweetness carefully composed throughout the song.

The mixed success of the album continues with unappealing tracks such as “Comes the Night” and the unfinished “NYC Baby.” The eighth track, “So Far,” has a promising beginning and its folksy sound made me hopeful, but it ultimately left me disappointed and I felt as though important elements were missing.

While many of the songs left me dissatisfied, the biggest letdown of the album is “Visits,” which at a minute and a half, seems to drag along. O’s performance in the song is much too forced, and it is unsuccessfully experimental.

Just when I thought my heart was broken by this unfulfilling record, the best track – which is buried halfway through the album – finally begins. “Day Go By” is a hopeful song with playful lyrics that perfectly illustrate the giddiness, joy and affliction a new crush can often cause. O springs to life in this song claiming that her “pain is gone” and she “can’t stand still” because of the romantic emotions bubbling inside. “Crush Songs” would be much more notable if all the tracks reflected the sentiment of “Day Go By.”

While many of the songs on this short record left me wanting more, I was grateful that the second half of the album is slightly more successful. “Body” is a fitting song for O and it is reminiscent of how wonderfully unexpected her songs can become. “King” is a whimsical tribute to the fallen King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and the album thankfully ends on a positive note.

The final track, “Singalong,” is fittingly titled as O sings together with several others in a lighthearted manner. The song ends with a pleasant giggle and it leaves me hopeful that new, successfully soft songs similar to past hits “Maps” and “The Moon Song” are sure to emerge from this always unique, rock-star vocalist.

 

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Karen O’s breakout album just so so