Hey Hey My My Yo Yo
can’t believe that there were actually people out there who thought that Junior Senior might have been some good-time, Euro one-off like so many other faceless dance wonders from across the Atlantic. There was a time when such an idea seemed perfectly plausible to me, even though songs like “Shake Me Baby” strongly suggested otherwise. But every perception I had about Junior Senior changed once I started listening to Hey Hey My My Yo Yo.
These guys didn’t merely luck out with a Michael Jackson-cribbing single and its Nintendo-inspired video. They’re masters of catchy melodies and danceable beats. Most listeners who loved “Move Your Feet” enough to check out D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat had inklings that this was the case, but their rapid emergence recession put doubts into all but the most faithful fans (or knowledgeable—let’s face it, these guys’ movements aren’t exactly tracked as closely as Radiohead’s). Hey Hey happily reveals the truth.
Hopefully this album will be as widely heard as the debut, but it lacks a transcendent single like “Move Your Feet” to draw casuals in. In every other way, however, Hey Hey tops its predecessor. The intro welcomes us back and shoots right into “Hip Hop a Lula,” the half-hearted attempt at rapping. It’s humorous in its cheekiness, and things only get more fun from there.
Hey Hey is an impressively cohesive collection of pop songs. Each song informs the next, even though they all stand individually in their own little three-minute world of joyous brilliance. The album reaches its peak during the impeccable trifecta of “We R the Handclaps,” “I Like Music (W.S.O.P.)” and “Ur a Girl.” It’s hard to say which of these stands as the album’s best track, but it doesn’t really matter, since I can’t listen to any of them without wanting to hear the others. And while I admit to not having heard every album released in 2005, I feel reasonably comfortable saying that there isn’t a better three-song stretch to be found anywhere else this year.
For an album with such simple-minded sentiments, the thrills inside Hey Hey never feel cheap. These songs are executed so well that centering an entire song on the question “Can I get to know you better, baby?” never seems lazy or written-off. When the gals from Le Tigre repeatedly belt out “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” on “Dance Chance Romance,” the penultimate track, it neatly sums up the album’s chief sentiment.
The only questions I ended up having pertained to why Junior Senior would choose to reintroduce the world to their warm and sunny sounds just as the weather turned frigid. It seemed like a potential marketing disaster, but after a couple of listens, everything became perfectly clear. Junior Senior are going to double-handedly drag all of us through every sub-zero day this winter. They’re going to keep us warmer than any jacket or set of gloves could ever hope to do. Hey Hey My My Yo Yo has arrived. Enjoy the summer.
Reviewed by: Ross McGowan
Reviewed on: 2005-12-14