THE BLACK KEYS
Studio album by The Black Keys
Release date: 18 May 2010
Producers: Mark Neill, Danger Mouse
Genres: Blues rock, Indie rock, Garage rock
Arguably one of the most prominent rock sounds to come out of the early 2000s, The Black Keys have cemented their name in the mecca of rock. With influences of Muddy Waters, Howling’ Wolf and the sauciness of the glam rock era, they have created a niche sound. The Black Keys have been around in the music scene for more than a decade. A two-piece band with Dan Auerbach on guitars and vocals and Patrick Carney on drums; the music is in its essence, minimalistic. This commercially and critically successful band brings in a ‘rhythm first’ approach in their sixth album, Brothers.
The album boasts of sounds that are essentially focussed on bass heavy, raunchy guitar riffs and punching beats. The opening song “Everlasting Light” sets the mood with a sense of hopefulness soothing your ears. Dan’s soulful voice accentuates the lyrics by recognising the love for someone. The words of the song is said to even allude to God, indicated by the use of the phrase “shepherd for you” and “everlasting light”. The song which follows is the archetypal rock heavy song about ‘moving on’. “Next Girl” talks about someone who is in a toxic relationship, the man gives his all just to make his lover happy. In the process, losing himself. The man makes a promise to himself that he wouldn’t make the same mistakes as he did. The juxtaposition of neediness of “Everlasting Light” and the repentance in “Next Girl” shows the spectrum of emotions this album engages in. The song “Tighten Up” found commercial success like no other. This song can be claimed to have put the band on the playlist of many a millennials. In a culture where the music is predominantly pop oriented, The Black Keys have managed to make their mark by introducing the bass heavy indie/blues rock vibe. The songs like “Howlin’ For You”, “Black Mud” are testament to their commitment to their genres. The band brings to the table good lyricism with songs like “She’s Long Gone”, “Too Afraid to Love”. These songs talk about the hesitance that one feels after love has fooled one’s heart too many times. The latter speaks about love, which fades just as fast it swept you off your feet. The idea of love and the insecurities it breeds are well displayed through out the album. The song “Sinister Kid” is another foot tapper which definitely invokes the distinct blues rock signature that is prevalent in The Black Keys sound. The album stays true to its characteristic tone of being bass heavy.
The album ends with the highly reflective and soothing, “These Days”. The song captures the essence of the entire album and summarises it into one single song. The lyrics speak of the sadness that one feels after time has passed. He wishes to have changed his ways, he suggests that he would change all he things he’d done. But now time has passed by and I will remain regretful for having done too little. In my opinion, the album is an expression of our inadequacies as people and as individuals. It talks about the angst that comes after a breakup and the repentance that comes with retrospection. At the same time, the album expresses our innate need to seek out love, despite the pain and suffering it causes. The impressive aspect of this album is its gracious use of Motown melodies, this is evident in the song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Dan Auerbach has put his vocal capacities to good use with expressive falsettos that compliment the roughness of this album.
It has been 8 years since the release of the Brothers album. The songs still resonates through these years. That is simply a testament to the commitment and time that they have put to creating something that will most definitely stand the test of time. If you are looking for a something close to good music in the indie/blues rock genre, The Black Keys could be your guiding light.
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