The reengineering of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ sound feels effortless, as, it seems, did the recording sessions—at least in comparison with those for Show Your Bones, which were riven with tension between O and Zinner. Sophomore-album breakup rumors are a hoary rock tradition, a point Zinner bemoans. “It’s like my biggest nightmare,” he says. “But the unfortunate reality is that clichés are all sort of inevitable.” Another hoary tradition: “Escaping the city and going into the Southwest to record your third record,” says Zinner with a laugh. It’s Blitz! was recorded mostly at two remote locations: in the Texas border town of Tornillo and in rural Massachusetts. “The remove was a good thing,” he adds.
The trio, currently rehearsing for an international tour, has traditionally straddled shameless (if tongue-in-cheek) entertainment (those explosive live shows) and stubborn unpredictability (the musical hopscotching). “We’ve always been bipolar,” says Zinner, who, like Chase, continues to live in New York. “We kind of go between a logical exchange of caring more than anything and also of not giving a fuck. Somewhere in there is the balance, I guess, of what we do.” But O is feeling a little less bipolar than back in the day. “The thirties thing, everyone says it’s about really being more comfortable with yourself and embracing you and taking more pleasure in that, instead of being self-conscious and painfully self-aware,” she says. “That sounds really good to me … My relationship with music has changed a lot since we started. Back then, it felt like, This is something I do. Now it feels like something I am.”