Heads Will Roll :: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Directed by Richard Ayoade
Heads Will Roll is the second single released by American band Yeah Yeah Yeahs from their third album, It’s Blitz!. The CD and 7″ commercial singles were released in the UK on June 29, 2009. The song was remixed by Kanye West’s former touring DJ A-Trak, and this remix was featured in the movie Project X in 2012.
The video (see above) features the band playing in an underground venue when a dancing werewolf appears on stage. A light flashes halfway through the music video and the werewolf transforms. He then proceeds to chase after the audience and kills most of them. The video then ends with the band having been murdered while Karen O continues singing, her head severed from her body. The music video contains some mockery of horror in general; instead of blood, there is red glitter and confetti and Karen O keeps singing while decapitated. In the UK, there are two different versions of this video, the second replacing the violent conclusion with repeated clips from the previous section of the video, but it shows the confetti falling onto the band.
The video was nominated for a VMA for “Breakthrough Video“.
Frontwoman Karen O told the New Musical Express January 17, 2009: “I figured if we were going to write a dance song it should be about heads bouncing on the floor and murder and slaughter.”
Band member Nick Zinner co-wrote this song with Karen O, during the same session that produced the track Hysteric. He told Billboard magazine: “That was actually one of the last songs we wrote for the record. I think we always wanted to have a guilty-pleasure dance song; that was it, really. It came quickly, and it was just fun to write. When we were over playing in Europe, it’s definitely the song people are reacting the strongest to, like freaking out when we play it. And it’s really fun to play live, too.”
Editor’s Note: The style of “dance” music that this song evokes to me is reminiscent of early 90’s “raves” I used to attend in downtown LA. The DJ’s used to spin a mad mix of 70’s and 80’s music, swirling sounds and music genres together, turning them into remixes and early mash-ups. This song sounds so much like those nights, and is just ripe for mashing-up with other dark, dance-able tunes.