Karen O feels misrepresented.
"In the press, [I'm depicted as] a nympho, sex-fiend, wild woman or something, which is not really the case," said the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer.
If that's true, the New York trio's newest video isn't going to help her case.
"We wanted to do something in contrast to 'Maps,' highlighting a darker, more mischievous side to the personality of our music," Karen said.
The clip in question, the disturbing yet comically bizarre "Y Control," is another weird opus from filmmaker Spike Jonze. A kind of fairy tale gone wrong, the video shows the Yeahs acting as the house band to a world of ill-behaved little hell-raisers: Karen dances around in a sparkly crimson tutu while a mob of creepy kids straight out of "Children of the Corn" move around the group, performing gruesome acts of violence on each other in perverse and disconcerting ways.
Oddly, Karen credits Michael Jackson as an accomplice to the visual bedlam. "I think [his spirit] might have subconsciously slipped in," she said. "Both 'Thriller' and 'Beat It' are [two] of my favorite videos from the '80s, and they definitely influenced the kind of mood we wanted to create for this."
Simultaneously creepy and beautiful, the clip features a freak show of absurdities, including a vampire boy attacking Karen, a disembowelment and the dismemberment of limbs with a rusty axe.
Karen insists that the violence is too satirical to be taken seriously. "The gore is just so cheesily and low-budgetly done," she said. "It has a real mid-'80s horror-film, schlock [feeling] to it. There's all these ridiculous hijinks going on — not necessarily violence, but a parody of violence. I think [kids] know the difference. They realize the violence is fake and schlocky and they appreciate it in a humorous way, and not pick up an axe and chop up someone."
But the clip is also so potentially controversial that an introductory disclaimer was added that features one of the video's more prominent children, identified as Griffin, saying, "Hi, this next video you are going to see is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There have been no children hurt this evening, and no animals killed this evening. I'm a professional."
Although Karen is rumored to be dating Jonze, she has nothing but professional praise for his work. "[Spike has] done some of the best music videos ever made, like [the Beastie Boys'] 'Sabotage' and the Weezer videos," she said. "He has this energy, and [his videos] have a sense of humor about them and a real dynamic."
Meanwhile, the Yeahs are prepping their first DVD release, "Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow." Due October 10, the DVD will contain live performances; a Japanese tour documentary; four videos (including the unedited "Y Control"); an audience documentary directed by Jonze and Lance Bangs; and the group's performance of "Maps" at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards, among other curiosities.