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It's Blitz!

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Subject: Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Timeline of alternative rock, Mark 'Spike' Stent, David Pajo, Runaway, Nick Launay, Dave Sitek, Tunde Adebimpe, Is Is
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It's Blitz!

It's Blitz!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Released March 9, 2009 (2009-03-09)
Recorded 2008 at Sonic Ranch, Tornillo, TX; Long View Farm Studios, North Brookfield, MA; Stay Gold Studio, Brooklyn, NY; The Boat, Los Angeles, CA; Seedy Underbelly, Valley Village, CA
Genre Alternative pop[1]
Length 41:49
Label Interscope
Producer Nick Launay, David Andrew Sitek
Yeah Yeah Yeahs chronology

Is Is
(2007)
It's Blitz!
(2009)
Mosquito
(2013)
Singles from It's Blitz!
  1. "Zero"
    Released: February 24, 2009
  2. "Heads Will Roll[2]"
    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 9, 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 rest of the world release date was on April 6, 2009. The first single "Zero" was released on February 24, 2009. The album was produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Talking Heads, PiL), along with TV on the Radio's David Andrew Sitek.[5]

The album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album on December 2, 2009.[6]

Recording

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

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[8]
Robert Christgau A−[9]
Entertainment Weekly B+[10]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[11]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[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[1]

It's Blitz! received universal acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized 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".[11] Emily Mackay of 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".[1] Later that year, Spin would place the album second on their best albums of 2009 list.[18] 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."[19] 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."[20]

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."[21] 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".[22] 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".[23] 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".[24]

Accolades

It's Blitz! was ranked as the third best album of the year 2009 by NME and second best by Spin.[25][26] Both magazines also listed the song "Zero" as the best of the year.[27][28]

Rhapsody called it the 12th best album of 2009.[29]

Track listing

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

Credits adapted from It's Blitz! album liner notes.[30]

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

Charts

Certifications

References

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