Despair

Album: Mosquito (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • This aching anthem finds Karen O singing about wasted days and nights and tears stinging her eyes, before concluding, "Nothing to fear." It is one of the most melancholic tracks on Mosquito but drummer Brian Chase told Spin magazine he feels it reflects the album's "wise and peaceful sense of love." He explained: "Love has always been there in different forms. In the form it takes on (YYY's debut album) Fever to Tell, it's very wild and passionate. This one seems to be not quite omniscient, but can see situations from the other side, so there's a peaceful sense to it, but at the same time, encouraging whatever it is to go through its process."
  • The Yeah Yeah Yeah's debuted this on December 8, 2013 when they headlined a Hurricane Sandy relief concert at Brooklyn's Union Pool.
  • Karen O described this to The Sun as "a love song to despair." She added: "It's a feeling that you have that visits you time and time again. It's an incredibly uplifting song , though, about wanting to run away from certain darkness in your life.
    "It's a reassurance," Karen O continued, "and just what I needed when I was writing it. It was like a nurturing and reassuring letter to myself and to anyone else going through something hard."
  • The song's music video was directed by Patrick Daughters, who envisioned the clip as "the end of an epic night out in New York City."

    The visual was the first ever one to be shot at the top of New York City's Empire State Building. It was filmed early in the morning on the famous skyscraper's observation deck, located on the 86th floor before it was open to the public. "It's like the American dream for us, singing your song on top of the Empire State Building," Karen O told The New York Times. "It's hard to do something like that and not feel like it's symbolic... Feeling like: man, where were we ten years ago, when we were sitting around in some punk-rock dive bar, thinking about what to name our band... and now here we are at the top."

    Other artists have tried to film at the Empire State Building, but their requests were denied. Approving the filming of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' clip was "not casual," according to Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, operator of the landmark. "We did review the lyrics, we understood what the song was about, we understand the treatment," he said. "It had to be appropriate for the building, and it was."

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