Krista DeJulio – Arts Editor
Karen O recently released her first solo album this past month on Cult Records, a different record label than the past four labels with her band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Her album, “Crush Songs,” is comprised of home recordings from 2006 and 2007 that had never been released until now. The collection of songs uses lo- fi, short for low fidelity, which is when the artist makes the recorded quality sound scratchy and flawed on purpose, giving it a unique sound.
Karen Lee Orzolek, better known as her alias Karen O, is known for fronting the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs and wearing ostentatious costumes onstage. Now Or- zolek has stepped outside of that role and jumped into a new sound, different from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Orzolek’s “Crush Songs” was recorded in between albums of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but the sound is much more pure and raw than anything recorded by the band.
The album includes an ode to one of her inspirations, Michael Jackson. The song, “King,” features lyrics directly re- lated to the King of Pop with lines like, “[a]nd with his single sparkling glove” and “[i]s he walking on the moon?”
“Crush Songs” lyrics allowed Orzolek to sing honestly about love and life. Her
voice is eerie and chilling, but beautiful and graceful at the same time. Orzolek’s said Crush Songs is “… the soundtrack to what was an ever continuing love crusade.”
When listening, you feel like you are friends with Orzolek and want to talk about who and what influenced “Crush Songs.” It feels like Orzolek specifically recorded this album so fans could all become personal friends with her. With the album conclud- ing at about 25 minutes, the songs are short and sweet and fans will find themselves lis- tening to the album repeatedly.
Even though most of the songs on the album are on the slower side, not well-produced and unpolished, they’ll make you want to get up and sway to the beat and grab a friend to just twirl around. While listening to “Crush Song” fans get to know Karen O in a way that they would not have gotten if they were listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Standout tracks: “Rapt,” “NYC Baby,” “Day Go By,” “Native Korean Rock,” “King.”