On September 9th, Karen O, singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, will release her first solo album Crush Songs
on Cult. Earlier in 2014, O was nominated for an Oscar for "Moon Song", a sing-songy acoustic pop song featured in (former boyfriend) Spike Jonze's movie Her
The songs aren't new material for O, having been recorded privately in 2006 when she was 27 and beleaguered with a string of crushes. Armed with a guitar and a ukulele, Karen O wrote and recorded the songs in a private room on the cusp of the overwhelming success of her band's second album, Show Your Bones
. Only later did she decide to release the songs to the public.
With its simple melodies and short track lengths (most of the songs are only a minute or two in length), Crush Songs
is a charming and mellow collection of simple pop songs. The cover art is equally simple and kitschy: it features a hand-scrawled image of a lovers embrace that complements the DIY feel of the lo-fi recordings. They are, in the artist's own words: "a soundtrack to what was an ever-continuing love crusade".
The album is streaming in its entirety via NPR's First Listen