My YEAH Five

I think musicians have a bit more leeway than poets in that they can twist, extend, or distort words to fit melodies and rhyme schemes. A hallmark of rock and rap singers in particular is the “YEAH”, a four-letter word that can be used in a surprising variety of ways, to punctuate, bridge, buffer, and just in general support the rest of the lyrics. Here are My Five best musical “YEAH” masters, in no particular order:

1) Eddie Vedder:
The lead singer of Pearl Jam is notorious for scrambling, distorting, and exhaling his “YEAH”s until they're virtually unrecognizable. Most sound like “ehhhyahh”, and sometimes I'll mistake other words like “again” for his signature “YEAH”. For a good example, take a look at Even Flow with lyrics:

2) Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell:
The harmonic duo that brought us the unique sound of Alice in Chains might be no more since Staley's drug overdose in 2002, but I've been listening to the group's new album since they brought in a new vocalist, and I have to say I'm impressed with how intact their original sound is. But since their sound originated with Staley/Cantrell, let's listen to their rendition of Again, with elongated “Y”s and “H”s:

3) The Who's “Won't Get Fooled Again”:
Roger Daltry belts out like a two-minute “YEEEEEEAAAAAAH” almost 8 minutes into this song; of course it's on the list:

4) She Loves You by The Beatles:
It's this of old-school “YEAH YEAH YEAH!” simplicity that makes up the foundation of everything that's been done since then:

5) Lil Jon:
I think we all knew I was going to end up here. Sure, if we're looking for good and original hip hop “YEAH”s, we'd be better off looking at someone like Flavor Flav. But this way I get to save Flav for a “BOYEEE” five and instead share a Dave Chapelle Lil Jon skit, since those are so much funnier:

Do you agree with my choices? There's probably some word to answer that inquiry in the positive, but it escapes me right now...



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