It's Blitz!

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It's Blitz!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz.png
Studio album by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Released March 6, 2009 (2009-03-06)
Recorded 2008
Studio
Genre
Length 41:49
Label
Producer
Yeah Yeah Yeahs chronology
Is Is
(2007)
It's Blitz!
(2009)
iTunes Originals – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
(2009)
Singles from It's Blitz!
  1. "Zero"
    Released: February 24, 2009
  2. "Heads Will Roll"
    Released: June 29, 2009
  3. "Skeletons"
    Released: February 1, 2010

It's Blitz! is the third studio album by American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, released on March 6, 2009 by Interscope Records. It was originally set for release on April 13, 2009. However, after being leaked to the Internet on February 22,[3] the release date was pushed forward to March 9 for the digital version and March 31 for the physical version.[4]

The album was produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Talking Heads, Public Image Ltd), along with TV on the Radio's David Andrew Sitek.[5] It spawned three singles: "Zero", "Heads Will Roll", and "Skeletons". It's Blitz! was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2010 Grammy Awards.[6]

Recording[edit]

According to Nick Launay, one of the two producers, the recording of the album was unusual for being largely written and created in the studio at a time when record labels have cut back considerably on production budgets. The few songs the band did take along to the first sessions were later altered significantly.[7] Launay described a typical session as follows:

Brian [Chase] would play lots of different drumbeats and we'd record it, chop it up and then make a groove loop out of it. Nick [Zinner] would then just jam to it, and we'd come up with an interesting rhythm part. Karen [O] would listen to that and come up with a vocal melody and then suddenly everything would fall into place.[7]

The album sessions took place over several months in 2008, during which time there were numerous breaks "to get inspired".[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly B+[9]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[10]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[11]
MSN Music A−[12]
NME 8/10[13]
Pitchfork Media 8.1/10[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[15]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[16]
Spin 9/10[2]

It's Blitz! received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 82, based on 36 reviews.[17] The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan commended the band's more dance-oriented sound, writing their "glittery new disco sound suits them very well. It's all cool, brittle catchiness, with a debt owed to Eat to the Beat-era Blondie".[10] Emily Mackay of the NME wrote that "It's Blitz!'s heartfelt love letter to the transcendent possibilities of the dancefloor is an unexpectedly emphatic reassertion of why Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one of the most exciting bands of this decade",[13] while Spin's Charles Aaron said that it is "the alternative pop album of the decade—one that imbues The Killers' Hot Fuss and MGMT's Oracular Spectacular with a remarkable emotional depth and finesse".[2] Theon Weber of The Village Voice said that Karen O "isn't revealed to us through the record's lyrics, which are as gnomic as ever, but through attitudes, tones, put-on sneers, and audible grins."[18] Mojo gave it a score of four stars out of five and wrote that the band has "managed to mix the human and the electronic, the emotional and the artsy, the fashion-forward and the oddly retro."[19]

Blender also gave the album four stars out of five and hailed it as "the sound of a band reborn with new momentum, and on an album that requires dancing, the message is clear: It doesn't matter where you came from. Just keep moving."[20] Clash commented that the trio had achieved growth without distancing themselves from what made their name: "The album proves that they can provide epic music with personal themes, that YYYs can expand without losing what made us fall for them in the first place".[21] Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that the band "grapple with separation and need, using dance beats to suggest the compulsive pleasure seeking that tries to drown out loneliness", and he commended their musical direction, stating, "The band is echoing the evolution of postpunk, from dogmatic austerity to technologically assisted".[22] Uncut's April Long gave it a score of four stars out of five and praised its "spirit of experimentation", stating "What unifies them is a warm romanticism that runs throughout, edging out Karen's blatant eroticism of yore – even though there are more come-downs than come-ons, every song seems to glow from within".[23]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank
A.V. Club, TheThe A.V. Club The Top 25 Albums of 2009[24] 20
Billboard Top 10 Albums of 2009[25] 2
Clash Top 40 Albums of 2009[26] 3
Consequence of Sound The Top 100 Albums of 2009[27] 6
Drowned in Sound Top 50 Albums of 2009[28] 3
Entertainment Weekly 10 Best (and 5 Worst) Albums of 2009[29] Best Rock Album
Guardian, TheThe Guardian Albums of 2009[30] 10
Mojo Top 50 Albums of 2009[31] 10
musicOMH Top 50 Best Albums of 2009[32] 6
NME 50 Best Albums of 2009[33] 3
Paste The 25 Best Albums of 2009[34] 23
Pitchfork Media The Top 50 Albums of 2009[35] 12
PopMatters The Best 60 Albums of 2009[36] 11
Q 50 Best Albums of 2009[31] 3
Rhapsody The 25 Best Albums of 2009[37] 12
Rolling Stone The 25 Best Albums of 2009[38] 20
Slant Magazine The 25 Best Albums of 2009[39] 2
Spin The 40 Best Albums of 2009[40] 2
125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years[41] 118
Uncut 50 Best Albums of 2009[31] 9
Village Voice, TheThe Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll: The Top 25 Albums of 2009[42] 4

Commercial performance[edit]

It's Blitz! debuted at number 32 on the Billboard 200, selling 13,000 digital copies in its first week.[43] Following its physical release, the album climbed to a new peak position of number 22 in its fourth week on the chart, selling 22,000 copies.[44] The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number nine with first-week sales of 18,054 copies.[45]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

No. Title Length
1. "Zero"   4:25
2. "Heads Will Roll"   3:41
3. "Soft Shock"   3:53
4. "Skeletons"   5:02
5. "Dull Life"   4:08
6. "Shame and Fortune"   3:31
7. "Runaway"   5:13
8. "Dragon Queen"   4:02
9. "Hysteric"   3:50
10. "Little Shadow"   3:57

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of It's Blitz![49]

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Additional personnel
  • Tunde Adebimpe – backing vocals (track 8)
  • Atom – assistant engineering
  • Louie Bandack – A&R
  • David Belisle – live Karen and Brian photograph
  • Eric Biondo – trumpet (tracks 1, 9)
  • Stuart Bogie – tenor saxophone (tracks 1, 8, 9); baritone saxophone (tracks 8, 9)
  • Tony Ciulla – management
  • Chris Coady – assistant engineering
  • Aaron Dembe – assistant engineering
  • Autumn de Wilde – live band photograph
  • Urs Fisher – art direction, cover and inside photograph
  • Charles Godfrey – assistant engineering
  • Matty Green – mixing assistant
  • Laura Haber – management
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Chris Kasych – mixing assistant
  • Greg Kurstin – piano (track 7)
  • Nick Launay – engineering, production
  • Mike Laza – assistant engineering
  • Justin Leeah – assistant engineering
  • Seb Marling – art direction
  • Chris Moore – assistant engineering
  • Alyssa Pittaluga – assistant engineering
  • Jane Scarpantoni – cello (track 7)
  • David Andrew Sitek – engineering (all tracks); production (tracks 1–4, 8, 9); additional production (tracks 5)
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – mixing
  • Eric Uhlir – live Nick photograph
  • Imaad Wasif – guitar (track 10)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[73] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[74] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition Label Ref.
Australia March 6, 2009 Digital download Standard Universal [75]
United Kingdom
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Polydor [76][77]
United States March 10, 2009
[78][79]
Germany March 13, 2009 Standard Universal [80]
United States March 31, 2009 CD
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • Dress Up
  • DGC
  • Interscope
[46][81]
Australia April 3, 2009 Universal [82]
Digital download Deluxe [75]
Germany CD
  • Standard
  • deluxe
[83][84]
LP Standard [85]
Digital download Deluxe [86]
United Kingdom April 6, 2009 CD
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Polydor [87][88]
LP Standard [89]
United States April 14, 2009
  • Dress Up
  • DGC
  • Interscope
[90]
Japan April 15, 2009
  • CD
  • digital download
Japan standard Universal [48][91]

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