Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege


The term “sacrilege” is derived from the Latin phrase “sacr,” meaning sacred, and “legere,” meaning “to steal,” “to collect,” or “to read.” Combining the two phrases gives you  a word translating to something along the lines of “to steal sacred things,” and the title of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new powerhouse single. Let me stress the word “powerhouse” to you because the moment you press play, you best be ready to strut your stuff down the grungy aisle Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase have paved for you in this track.

Fallen for a guy, fell down from the sky
Halo round his head
Feathers in a bed
In our bed, in our bed.”

There’s a special spot in my heart for Karen O’s moans. I’ve had this silly fantasy where Karen O and Beth Ditto do a song with Ditto doing her effortlessly controlled coo’s and Karen moans over a filthy pop-rock background. “Sacrilege” doesn’t feature any of O’s moans, but it’s pure Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. In fact, it’s the perfect fusion of “It’s Blitz!” and “Fever To Tell” – dance-y but still rooted in rock. The track builds with intensity as the story of delusional infatuation spins out of control. The bass moves through space slowly descending to the depths of the sound spectrum while Zinner’s guitar melody wails over O’s desperate almost hypnotized vocals.

Any relationship will reach a moment the requires both parties to make some sort of clarification as to what exists between them. Often, this happens when one party has fallen harder than the other and the news comes as a shock. The shock, though, is probably expected. Our guts know much more about life than our heads do. Humans have this ability to dive into ideas and drown in them. We lie to ourselves because we don’t want to face the truth that our ideas won’t manifest themselves in real life. What’s worse — what’s sacrilegious — is when the other party knows how much more invested the other is and doesn’t clarify things sooner. When the truth finally comes out, dignity is stolen and that’s sacrilege.

What makes this track such a powerhouse is how simple the lyrics are. I mentioned how the track builds earlier, but it doesn’t build into a drop or guitar solo. No, it builds into and explodes into a full on gospel choir preaching the blasphemy of unrequited affection. The whole track is set on fire by the end and the church of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s ignites a whole new sound brainwashing its members in the best way possible.

A man? Amen.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege