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How Yeah Yeah Yeahs inspired one of the biggest-selling pop singles of the 2000s


Yeah Yeah Yeahs were one of the most iconic bands of the alternative scene during the 2000s, and they’re absolutely still going strong to this day, with their recent comeback with new music enough to show anyone just how timeless they really are. And it seems that their fans aren’t the only people to feel this way.

Of course, musicians and artists get inspiration from one another all the time, and that kind of thing spans across genres. Especially when it comes to pop songs and pop musicians taking notes from alternative music and other subcultures and subgenres. That explains how Yeah Yeah Yeahs ended up lending a little bit of their magic to one of the biggest pop groups of the 2000s.

Just take a moment to think about this: what group made for the perfect mini-van music for your mother? How about the ultimate school dance material? It’s The Black Eyed Peas, of course! The song in question is none other than ‘Meet Me Halfway’, which dominated global charts after its release in 2009.

Upon first hearing the song—actually, even after a few listens—it might be tough to figure out exactly what they got from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but once it’s pointed out, it’s kind of tough to un-hear it. The song uses a sample of ‘Maps’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Here’s the thing: one could also very easily make the argument that ‘Maps’ is an iconic pop song of the 2000s, too, but it’s definitely of a different variety, to say the least. ‘Maps’ is sort of the crossover that brings alt-pop into the mainstream, whereas ‘Meet Me Halfway’ is literally the pop anthem that you can recognise anywhere and get a wave of nostalgia.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a certain subtlety to their sound that can blend into a pop setting, but not just simply “blend”. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ proves that their sound worked to enhance the pop soundscape and ground it into a more melodic, gritty texture. Obviously, it didn’t do this too much, but it’s just enough that it had the opportunity to shape the architecture of the song.

It is sort of magical, though, considering that it flies under the radar as a sample so well. Many people would argue that this is indeed the purpose of a great sample. Regardless, both songs made their mark on the 2000s, albeit in very different ways. Knowing that they brushed shoulders is extremely satisfying.