Yeah Yeah Yeahs Bring Hope and Some Sixties Soul to a Smoldering World on ‘Burning’

Yeah Yeah Yeahs hold onto a bit of hope for a world on fire on their new song “Burning,” the latest offering from the group’s upcoming album, Cool It Down, out Sept. 30 via Secretly Canadian.

“Burning,” as Karen O notes in a statement, contains a little lyrical nod to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Beggin’” — “Oooh lay your red hand on me baby,” she sings on the track — while the instrumentals also boast some of that soulful Sixties energy. 

In explaining the track, she recalled an incident from when she was 19 and living in New York City. One night, she joined a friend at a bar, but accidentally left a votive candle burning in her apartment; when she returned an hour-and-a-half later, the fire department had already come and gone, and her room was a wreck. But while she’d lost an array of expensive electronics, like her laptop and camera, more personal items such as sketchbooks, a favorite sweater, and photographs of her parents were unscathed, “as if there was some intangible force field protecting them.”

To that end, the singer says, “If the world is on fire I hope the most beloved stay protected and that we do all we can to protect what we cherish most in this life. ‘Burning’ is a song about that feeling, smoke signals for the soul. Begging to cool it down, just doing it the best we know how.”


“Burning” marks the second offering from Cool It Down, following, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World,” featuring Perfume Genius, which arrived in June. That song marked the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ first new music in nearly a decade, and Cool It Down — the band’s fifth studio effort — will be their first since 2013’s Mosquito.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a handful of concerts lined up this fall, including a set at Riot Fest in Chicago on Sept. 18, and shows in New York City and Los Angeles on Oct. 1 and 6, respectively. Additional shows in Mexico will follow in November.

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