Karen O Talks Returning to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in New Interview: "There's Just the Teenager in Me That Just Will Never Die"

The band's first album in nine years arrives September 30
Karen O Talks Returning to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in New Interview: 'There's Just the Teenager in Me That Just Will Never Die'
Photo: Chris Bubinas
As was reported with great fanfare earlier this month, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are finally set to return — nine years, a handful of side projects, and a baby later — with their greatly anticipated fifth record Cool It Down on September 30. 

They've already shared the beautiful, Perfume Genius-featuring lead single and album opener "Spitting Off the Edge of the World," and in a new interview with Apple Music, Karen O discussed creating the new single, collaborating with Perfume Genius and returning to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs after so many years away. 

In the interview, Karen O explains the meaning behind "Spitting Off the Edge of the World," describing the song as a comment on and rallying cry for the youth facing down intense political turmoil and a growing environmental crisis, saying that it feels in conversation to the trio's beginnings in the wake of 9/11. 

"Our conception was living in New York when 9/11 happened, so I do think that suffering is not a necessary ingredient for great art, but it helps," she explained. "I think actually we're riding probably a wave of incredible music this year. I feel like all the records I've heard so far are quite deeply soulful. I think it's been a dark night of the soul for a lot of us globally, and artists are so sensitive that we took it in and just feel compelled. The Yeah Yeahs have the fever to tell again."

She continues, saying:

Things are quite crazy, and music is always, for me, the safe space, the antidote for big feelings. So, yeah, really big feelings. Like really big… Yeah, defiance, I mean I think that's like such a... It's a great word because I think we're just going to need that defiance. I think the kids are going to need it. I always write from the perspective of... There's just the teenager in me that just will never die.

Later in the chat, she discusses working with Perfume Genius on the record's first single, describing him as "an incredible artist… like, freaking hilarious, just like the funniest dude, the most strangest sense of humour ever." She says that after imagining the single as a dialogue between two voices, his was the first and only that came to mind. 

She also talks about the sound of the record, recalling that it "really did actually come flooding out of us," and describing the album as not having "any fat." 

You can check out the full interview here and revisit "Spitting Off the Edge of the World" below.