This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #454: Cheated Hearts by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
When the Punk Rock movement was in its heyday back in the late 1970s/early 80s, the biggest bands were The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks and so on. What was common among these groups, aside from snarling lips, angry songs, ripped clothing was the fact that most successful Punk bands were all-male. Arguably the moist successful band with a female at the helm was Siouxsie and the Banshees. Siouxsie Sioux (Sue-see Sue) and the Banshees debuted as a Punk band but, unlike many of their peers, they evolved in to other musical scenes over time. Siouxsie and the Banshees were as influential a band to those who liked Goth music or Alternative or Experimental music as they were to the Punk Rock scene. Because of the wide swath they cut through the musical landscape, Siouxsie Sioux became a role model for numerous girls when it came for them to decide to follow their own creative muse and form a band for themselves. One such young girl who saw herself when she watched Siouxsie Sioux was a girl from New York known as Karen O. Along with friends, Nick Zinner (guitar and keyboards) and Brian Chase (drums), they formed a band called The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This band formed in 2000 and is still going strong today.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are known as a one of a wave of bands that critics like to call Post Punk Revival bands. Essentially, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, along with bands that I have profiled already like The White Stripes, MGMT, Interpol and The Strokes, all took that punk aesthetic from the 70s and polished it, modernizing it to form a fresh new sound. The Post-Punk Revival bands weren’t fuelled by overt thoughts of anarchy but, they were emotive and often dealt with social commentary.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the only one of these bands to feature a female lead singer. Like Siouxsie Sioux, Karen O. cuts a very artistic and creative figure on stage. She is very energetic and passionate about her performances. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have sold millions of records and have enjoyed many Top Ten hits. In fact, their most famous song “Maps” is one that we will see in almost a year from now when we reach the Top 100 songs of all time on this list. “Maps” has been sampled by everyone from Kelly Clarkson in her big hit, “Since You’ve Been Gone” to the Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, who lifted the entire chorus from “Maps” for one of her songs. When it comes to female role models, Siouxsie Sioux helped inspire Karen O. and now, it is Karen O. who inspires scores of young fans from all around the world.
In the video I will show today for a song called “Cheated Hearts”, you will see the extent of the impact that Karen O. and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have had on others. This video shows how fans today often choose to show their affection with their heroes. In this case, fans from all over the world have created a series of TikTok-like videos of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs performing this song; except, the fans dress as the band dresses and move as the band moves and, in essence, recreating the original band video in tribute form. Watching this video makes me realize how great of an impact our actions have on others. It is everything from students imitating me when they played “school” at recess, to children imitating their parents when they play “house” at home, to fans imitating their favourite bands and drawing inspiration from them to express themselves. It is a wonderful, empowering uplifting cycle of positivity and gratitude. *FYI: the real Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the 4th “band” to appear in the video. Karen O. is wearing a brightly coloured top and pink tights. As you will see, Karen O.’s influence cuts across all genders and sexual orientations and brings happiness and courage to them all.
If you have never heard The Yeah Yeah Yeahs before then, get ready. They are terrific and full of talent and energy. They make me smile. I will post a live video in the comments so you can get a better idea of who they actually are and how they look. This is “Cheated Hearts” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Enjoy.
The link to the live performance video of “Cheated Hearts” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs can be found here.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a neat website that can be accessed by clicking on the link here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. A link to their website can be found here.
The header photo was taken by awesome photographer David Black. You can see more of his great work by clicking here.
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