Fever to Tell

Fever to Tell is the debut studio album by American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It was released on April 29, 2003, by Interscope Records. It was produced by Dave Sitek and mixed by Alan Moulder. Four singles were issued, the first being "Date with the Night".

Fever to Tell
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell.png
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 29, 2003 (2003-04-29)
StudioHeadgear (Brooklyn, New York)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs chronology
Fever to Tell
Show Your Bones
Singles from Fever to Tell
  1. "Date with the Night"
    Released: April 14, 2003
  2. "Pin"
    Released: July 22, 2003
  3. "Maps"
    Released: February 10, 2004
  4. "Y Control"
    Released: June 1, 2004

Fever to Tell was both a critical and commercial success; it has sold one million copies worldwide.

Recording and productionEdit

By 2002, Yeah Yeah Yeahs had achieved a respected reputation for their live performances and critical acclaim for their debut EP, leading to several overtures from major record labels. The band wanted to finance their debut album themselves and chose to record at the low-budget Headgear Studio in Brooklyn. "It was really important for us to do it on our turf, on our terms", lead singer Karen O later told Spin. "We were all living together, and all the money we used to fund it came out of our pocket."[1]

Fever to Tell was produced by Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Dave Sitek, a multi-instrumentalist and producer from the band TV on the Radio.[1] Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner first met Sitek while working together at a Brooklyn clothing store, and he went on to drive and manage them for their first concert tour. In 2002, the band asked Sitek to produce their debut album. She recalled the decision in an interview with Lizzy Goodman for her 2017 book Meet Me in the Bathroom. "I remember him giving me a few burned CDs of stuff that he had worked on", she Karen O said. "I guess he was just a buddy, and we felt immediately like we were family with him. And we didn’t know anyone else. That was probably one of the biggest reasons we worked with him, because we didn’t know anyone else. Then, of course, he ended up being really fucking masterful."[1]

Once the recording was finished, the album was mixed in London by Zinner and sound engineer Alan Moulder (who had previously worked for My Bloody Valentine and Nine Inch Nails).[2]

Musical styleEdit

According to Paste, Fever to Tell was representative of the early-2000s' garage rock revival,[3] while Dan Epstein from Rolling Stone called the record an "NYC art-punk landmark".[1] Its music was also described as "ecstatic dance punk", by Alex Denney of The Guardian.[4] Journalist Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that the band "are closer to Siouxsie and the Banshees (but with a grin) and Led Zeppelin (but with estrogen) than to the blues". The slow closing track "Modern Romance" was compared to a Velvet Underground drone.[5] Music historian Nick Kent compared Karen O's singing style to Lydia Lunch and PJ Harvey. Kent also described the record as musically "Siouxsie Sioux jamming with Led Zeppelin".[6] Journalist Alexis Petridis remarked that "Y Control" was based on a riff from art-rockers Big Black, then transformed into spacey new-wave pop.[7]

Marketing and salesEdit

Fever to Tell was released on May 3, 2003, by Interscope Records.[8] It debuted at number 67 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the week of May 17.[9] To promote the album, "Date with the Night" and "Pin” were released as the first two singles. Interscope wanted to release "Maps" earlier but the band's resistance delayed it until February 2004, when the album had sold only 124,000 copies. The single became a hit on MTV and rock radio, charting at number nine on Billboard's Hot Modern Rock Tracks, and its success helped triple sales of the album.[1]

By March 2006, Fever to Tell had sold 524,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[10] In March 2009, the album reached sales of more than one million copies worldwide.[11] Its American sales stood at 600,000 by April 2010.[12] As of March, 2013 the album has sold 640,000 copies in US.[13]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [15]
Blender     [16]
Entertainment WeeklyB[17]
The Guardian     [7]
Q     [20]
Rolling Stone     [5]
Uncut     [21]
The Village VoiceB+[22]

Fever to Tell was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 85, based on 27 reviews.[14] In a four star review, Rolling Stone wrote: "There are half a dozen songs under three minutes on Fever to Tell, and they sound absolutely complete".[5] Andrew Perry from The Daily Telegraph called it an "exhilarating dose of lo-fi garage-rock".[23] In The Village Voice, Robert Christgau observed "a striking sound" that is "both big and punk, never a natural combo", and highlighted by Zinner's "dangerous riffs". He had reservations about the subject matter, however; while noting "two human-scale songs toward the end", Christgau said "to care about this band you have to find Karen O's fuck-me persona provocative if not seductive, and since I've never been one for the sex-is-combat thing, I find it silly or obnoxious depending on who's taking it seriously."[22]

Fever to Tell was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and was certified gold in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The video for "Maps" received nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and the MTV2 Award at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards. The New York Times chose Fever to Tell as the best album of 2003.[24]

In June 2005, the album was ranked number 89 on Spin magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005.[25] Featuring in the 2010 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, Fever to Tell was hailed as "the coolest and cleverest record of 2003".[2] In 2009, the album was named by NME, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone the fifth, 24th, and 28th best album of the 2000s decade, respectively.[26][27][28] In 2019, the album was ranked 38th on The Guardian's 100 Best Albums of the 21st Century list.[29] In 2020, it was ranked number 377 on the Top 500 Albums of All-Time.[30]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All tracks produced by Dave Sitek and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

2."Date with the Night"2:35
5."Black Tongue"2:59
7."Cold Light"2:16
8."No No No"5:14
10."Y Control"4:00
11."Modern Romance"7:28
Total length:37:25
UK special edition and Japanese edition bonus tracks[31][32]
12."Yeah! New York"2:06
13."Date with the Night" (CD-ROM video) 
Total length:39:31
2017 digital deluxe remastered bonus disc[33]
1."Date with the Night" (four track demo)2:05
2."Black Tongue" (four track demo)3:22
3."Pin" (four track demo)1:28
4."Maps" (early four track demo)1:04
5."Poor Song" (four track demo)2:56
6."Tick" (four track demo)2:23
7."Shot Down" (four track demo)1:07
8."Ooh Ooh Ooh" (four track demo)2:34
9."Maps" (four track demo)2:20
10."Shake It"2:10
12."Modern Things"2:57
14."Shot Down"1:30
15."Yeah! New York"2:05

2017 limited deluxe edition box setEdit

LP two, side A[34]
1."Date with the Night" (four track demo)2:05
2."Black Tongue" (four track demo)3:22
3."Pin" (four track demo)1:28
4."Maps" (early four track demo)1:04
5."Poor Song" (four track demo)2:56
6."Tick" (four track demo)2:23
7."Shot Down" (four track demo)1:07
8."Ooh Ooh Ooh" (four track demo)2:34
9."Maps" (four track demo)2:20
LP two, side B (B-sides and rarities)[34]
1."Shake It"2:10
3."Modern Things"2:57
5."Shot Down"1:30
6."Yeah! New York"2:05
Champagne cork USB memory stick[34]
1."There Is No Modern Romance" (tour documentary by Patrick Daughters and Stephen Berger) 
2."Fukuoka Nagoya Osaka Tokyo" (Japan tour behind the scenes) 
3."They Don't Love Like I Love You" (interviews by Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze) 
4."Maps" (official video) 
5."Date with the Night" (official video) 
6."Y Control" (official video) 
7."Pin" (official video) 
8."Y Control" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
9."Black Tongue" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
10."Maps" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
11."Rich" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
12."Miles Away" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
13."Poor Song" (live at The Fillmore, San Francisco) 
1."Phone Jam" 
2."Art Star" (four track demo) 
3."Bang" (four track demo) 
4."Our Time" (four track demo) 


  • Track 11 includes the hidden track "Poor Song" at the 4:25 mark, after "Modern Romance" ends at 3:15. "Poor Song" appears as a separate track on the 2017 digital deluxe remastered edition.[33]


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Fever to Tell.[35]

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Additional personnel


Chart (2003–04) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[36] 80
European Albums (Music & Media)[37] 42
French Albums (SNEP)[38] 70
Irish Albums (IRMA)[39] 18
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[40] 39
Scottish Albums (OCC)[41] 12
UK Albums (OCC)[42] 13
US Billboard 200[43] 55


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Gold 205,000[44]
United States (RIAA)[46] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c d e Epstein, Dan (April 29, 2018). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Fever to Tell': 10 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (March 23, 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  3. ^ Jackson, Josh; et al. (January 29, 2018). "The 50 Best Garage Rock Albums of All Time". Paste. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Denney, Alex (March 15, 2009). "Rock review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (April 22, 2003). "Fever To Tell". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Kent, Nick (25 April 2003). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs". Libération. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  7. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (April 24, 2003). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Paoletta, Michael, ed. (May 3, 2003). "Reviews & Previews". Billboard. p. 44. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  9. ^ Anon. (May 17, 2003). "The Billboard 200". Billboard. p. 60. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  10. ^ "Roll The 'Bones'". Billboard. March 25, 2006. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Forrest, Emma (March 30, 2009). "There are too many whiny bands". The Guardian. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  12. ^ "Xx Marks the Spot". Billboard. 10 April 2010. p. 24. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  13. ^ Haramis, Nick (9 March 2013). "On With The Show" (PDF). American Radio History (Billboard Archive). p. 24. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for Fever To Tell by Yeah Yeah Yeahs". Metacritic. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  15. ^ Phares, Heather. "Fever to Tell – Yeah Yeah Yeahs". AllMusic. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob (May 2003). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell". Blender (16): 124. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  17. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (May 2, 2003). "Fever To Tell". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 6, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  18. ^ Mulvey, John (May 1, 2003). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Fever To Tell". NME. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Carr, Eric (April 28, 2003). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  20. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell". Q (202): 111. May 2003. ISSN 0955-4955.
  21. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell". Uncut (72): 92. May 2003. ISSN 1368-0722.
  22. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 10, 2003). "Consumer Guide: Eating Again". The Village Voice. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
  23. ^ Perry, Andrew (April 26, 2003). "CD of the week: more lo-fi garage rock". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  24. ^ Pareles, Jon (December 28, 2003). "Music: The Highs; The Albums and Songs of the Year". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  25. ^ "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". Spin. June 20, 2005. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  26. ^ "The Top 100 Greatest Albums Of The Decade". NME. November 11, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2009.
  27. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50–21". Pitchfork. October 1, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  28. ^ "100 Best Albums of the 2000s". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  29. ^ "The 100 best albums of the 21st century". The Guardian. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  30. ^ Rolling Stone (2020-09-22). "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  31. ^ "Fever To Tell: Yeah Yeah Yeahs". Amazon (UK). Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  32. ^ ヤー・ヤー・ヤーズ : フィーヴァー・トゥ・テル [Yeah Yeah Yeahs : Fever to Tell]. Amazon (Japan) (in Japanese). Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  33. ^ a b "Fever To Tell (Deluxe Remastered) by Yeah Yeah Yeahs". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c d "Limited Edition Fever To Tell Deluxe Box Set". Yeah Yeah Yeahs Official Merchandise. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  35. ^ Fever to Tell (CD liner notes). Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Interscope Records. 2003. B0003490-02.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  36. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Albums – Week Commencing 26th May 2003" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (692): 6. May 26, 2003. Retrieved November 12, 2016 – via Pandora Archive.
  37. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 21 no. 21. May 17, 2003. p. 9. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved December 8, 2018 – via American Radio History.
  38. ^ "Lescharts.com – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  39. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 18, 2003". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  40. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  41. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  42. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  43. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  44. ^ Empire, Kitty (July 21, 2013). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs – review". The Observer. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  45. ^ "British album certifications – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell". British Phonographic Industry. July 22, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2016.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Fever to Tell in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  46. ^ "American album certifications – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell". Recording Industry Association of America. January 10, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2016.

External linksEdit