Zero (Yeah Yeah Yeahs song)

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An open mouth with red lips shows an eyeball inside it. The upper left of the cover has the band's name in neon red and the song title below it in neon blue.
Single by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
from the album It's Blitz!
ReleasedFebruary 24, 2009 (2009-02-24)
Songwriter(s)Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs singles chronology
"Down Boy"
"Heads Will Roll"
Music video
"Zero" on YouTube

"Zero" is a song by American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, released as the lead single from their third studio album, It's Blitz! (2009). The song received critical acclaim from music critics for its production, and was named the best track of 2009 by both NME and Spin magazines.

The single had moderate commercial success, peaking at numbers four, 18 and 37 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales, Alternative Songs and Hot Rock Songs charts, respectively, as well as number 49 on the UK Singles Chart. A music video for the single, which shows lead singer Karen O walking the streets of San Francisco at night, was released in March 2009.

Critical reception[edit]

"Zero" received acclaim from music critics. Paula Carino of AllMusic described the song as "an exhilarating and wide-open expanse of pure electro-pop".[1] Mary Bellamy of Drowned in Sound viewed the track as "the call to arms of a band who desperately want to teleport the refugees of fashion-fizzled pop, the hippest of hipsters and the weirdest outsiders to the dancefloor of their sweaty spaceship", stating it is "perhaps one of the band's finest moments ever committed to tape."[5]

Slant Magazine's Jonathan Keefe praised "Zero" as "flat-out phenomenal",[6] while Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy called it "a saucy electro romp that makes even GaGa seem a tad coy".[7] Michael Hubbard of musicOMH dubbed the song "an all out visceral onslaught, a keening mix of battered synths, drum machines and Nick Zinner's typically bloodless guitar playing", and referred to it as "a mix of Show Your Bones' cleaner production with the grubbiness of the Is Is EP".[8] Evan Sawdey of PopMatters opined that "[n]o YYY's song has ever been as disposable, replayable, or just outright fun as 'Zero'".[9]

"Zero" was named the best track of 2009 by both the NME and Spin magazines,[10][11] while Pitchfork ranked it the sixth best song of the year.[12] In October 2011, the NME placed the song at number 39 on its list of the "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[13] Writing in retrospect, Alexis Petridis of The Guardian cited "Zero" as proof of the band's difficulties at achieving commercial success, stating the song "sounded like a mammoth hit right up to the point it stalled at No 49 in the singles chart."[14]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Zero" was directed by Barney Clay and premiered on March 9, 2009.[15][16] It was filmed in the San Francisco neighborhoods of Tenderloin, North Beach, and Chinatown.[17][18] Speaking to Spinner, lead singer Karen O explained the concept of the video: "The visuals had to be well paced with the slow ecstatic build of the song. It made sense that the visuals would take you on a journey and keep you on the move—no sitting still for too long in the city landscape of bright lights, dark alleys and glittering streets. 'Zero''s sentiment is to revel in being you—you're a zero so screw it! It's the underdogs, the rebels, the outsiders that have always captivated me growing up so I decided why not flaunt that side of myself in the video."[16]

The video opens with the band in the dressing room of The Warfield,[18] getting ready for a show, at which point O walks through a curtain that takes her to the streets of San Francisco at night. Clad in a PVC dress and a studded leather jacket, O is seen walking around the streets and dancing atop cars. She soon joins her bandmates again as they perform the song in an alleyway. Towards the end of the video, the band play around with shopping carts in a supermarket, before playing in a local discount store.

Use in media[edit]

"Zero" was used in the television shows 90210,[19] Ugly Betty,[20] Gossip Girl,[21] and The L.A. Complex.[22] The song was also included in the soundtrack for the 2009 video game Tony Hawk: Ride.[23]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of It's Blitz![29]


Chart (2009) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[30] 88
Australia Dance (ARIA)[31] 10
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[32] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[33] 49
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[34] 18
US Hot Dance Singles Sales (Billboard)[35] 4
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[36] 37

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States February 24, 2009 Digital download
(via pre-order of It's Blitz! on iTunes)
Modern rock radio [39]
March 17, 2009 CD single [24]
United Kingdom April 7, 2009 7-inch single Polydor [40][41]
April 12, 2009 Digital EP [26]
April 13, 2009 CD single [42]
United States May 19, 2009 Digital EP – Remixes
  • Dress Up
  • DGC
  • Interscope
June 9, 2009 12-inch single [28][43]


  1. ^ a b Carino, Paula. "Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs". AllMusic. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  2. ^ Stevens, Darcie (April 3, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz! (Interscope)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Lapatine, Scott (April 12, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Take "Zero," "Maps" To SNL". Stereogum. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Stewart, Allison (March 17, 2009). "Quick Spins: Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "It's Blitz!"". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  5. ^ Bellamy, Mary (March 11, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It's Blitz!". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Keefe, Jonathan (March 16, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Fletcher, Alex (March 29, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 'Zero'". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  8. ^ Hubbard, Michael (February 18, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs back with a big Zero". musicOMH. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  9. ^ Sawdey, Evan (March 22, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!". PopMatters. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "50 Best Tracks of 2009". NME. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  11. ^ "The 20 Best Songs of 2009". Spin. December 7, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
  12. ^ "The Top 100 Tracks of 2009". Pitchfork. December 14, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  13. ^ "150 Best Tracks Of The Past 15 Years | #39 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero". NME. October 6, 2011. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Petridis, Alexis (April 11, 2013). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Mosquito – review". The Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  15. ^ Knight, David (March 16, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Zero by Barney Clay". Promo News. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Robertson, Jessica (March 9, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Zero' – Video Premiere". Spinner. Archived from the original on November 20, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  17. ^ Cipriano, Janelle (April 28, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Hit the Streets of SF in "Zero" Video". 7x7. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Port, Ian S. (March 12, 2009). "New YYY: Name That S.F. Bodega". SF Weekly. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  19. ^ "The Party's Over". 90210. Season 1. Episode 22. May 5, 2009. The CW.
  20. ^ "In the Stars". Ugly Betty. Season 3. Episode 22. May 14, 2009. ABC.
  21. ^ Graff, Gary (May 19, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Leave Heads Rolling On The Road". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  22. ^ Allison (January 10, 2012). "The L.A. Complex Music Ep. 1: Give Up". MuchMusic. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  23. ^ Crecente, Brian (October 6, 2009). "Tony Hawk: Ride: The Soundtrack". Kotaku. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Zero". Amazon (US). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  25. ^ a b c "'Zero' physical singles available in the UK for 1 week only!". Interscope Records. April 2, 2009. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  26. ^ a b "Zero – EP by Yeah Yeah Yeahs". iTunes Store (UK). Archived from the original on June 20, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  27. ^ a b "Zero (Remixes) – EP by Yeah Yeah Yeahs". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Releases : Zero Remixes". Interscope Records. Archived from the original on October 3, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  29. ^ It's Blitz! (liner notes). Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Interscope Records. 2009. B0012735-02.CS1 maint: others (link)
  30. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 6th April 2009" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  31. ^ "ARIA Dance – Week Commencing 13th April 2009" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (998): 17. April 13, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2014 – via Pandora Archive.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  33. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  35. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs | Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  37. ^ Yeah Yeah Yeahs (February 24, 2009). "YYYs HEART itunes PRESALE FOR IT'S BLITZ!- GET ZERO NOW!". Facebook. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  38. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Offer New Single and Video, Internet Takes Whole Album". The Fader. February 24, 2009. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  39. ^ "Modern Rock – 2009". FMQB. Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  40. ^ "Zero / Zero (Animal Collective Remix) [7" Vinyl]". Amazon (UK). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  41. ^ "Zero / Zero (Erol Alkan Rework) [7" Vinyl]". Amazon (UK). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  42. ^ "Zero". Amazon (UK). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  43. ^ "Zero (12 inch Vinyl Single) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs". AllMusic. Retrieved February 24, 2014.