“One, two, three, four...” Karen O begins her debut solo album Crush Songs, an album that I'll admit is way more impressive the third or fourth time you listen to it. Karen Lee Orzolek has always been a tenacious, intense song writer – so it's a nice change to hear her debut, that has literally been in the making since 2006, being a soft, emotional love letter to all of her failed relationships. You can tell just by her solo work that her songwriting on her own is way more tame than her songwriting with Nick Zinner and Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which shows her plasticity for songwriting. I've always loved Karen O but the fact that she is so versatile and not only that, but can still hit you deep whether she's signing “Do I really need another habit like you?” or “I got a man who makes me want to kill,” is something special. It's something not a lot of musicians these days have. To be able to write basically however you want at any given time. A lot of bands and artists have their formulas, not Karen O - something I've always admired about her and I'm glad she's showing it off more these days (i.e. Where the Wild Things Are and Her soundtracks as well).
I had the pleasure of seeing Ms. O in New York City when Crush Songs released. She did a mini-NYC and Los Angeles tour to promote the record. She's just as fierce as you would think, just as fearless and just as captivating in person as she is on her recordings. I'll end this blog post with some photos from that night:
I highly recommend Crush Songs. It might sound uninspiring the first listen but her vulnerability and rawness will keep you listening. It's a grower, not a shower.