Showing posts with label the black keys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the black keys. Show all posts

Thursday, July 4, 2019

video review: "let's rock!" by the black keys

So yeah, slightly complicated feelings on this one, but I did wind up mostly liking it a fair bit more than I thought I would. Huh, go figure.

Anyway, I think it's about time I get the Trailing Edge out the door before I handle Thom Yorke, so stay tuned!

album review: "let's rock!" by the black keys

The last time I reviewed The Black Keys was five years ago, when I covered Turn Blue - and I can't be the only one who thinks that some of the backlash I've received even from the fans in hindsight might be undeserved.

Because I did get backlash when I covered Turn Blue, one of those cases where I was lukewarm on a project that nowadays is widely held as one of The Black Keys' weakest albums, the culmination of the sour, desaturated tones that Brian Burton had been giving them for years and lyrics that actually probably don't get enough credit but still culminated in an unpleasantly cohesive experience. But that album is something of an outlier to The Black Keys' formula, and for many folks' first exposure to me talking about the band, it might have presented a skewed picture. As I've said before, every guy of my generation or older will have a Black Keys phase, and mine lasted about three months - they've got a great knack for scuzzed out melody and hooks that Burton to his credit was able to ramp up, but as songwriters they frequently tested my patience and the decidedly mercenary approach they took to churning out albums led to some wild variance in quality. 

So I'll admit I actually had some expectations for this new project, "Let's Rock!", not just because Brian Burton was not producing it, but also how given the band's long absence, the sound and ideas could be revitalized. Granted, I didn't expect greatness - for me the band hasn't been consistently great since Thickfreakness or Rubber Factory - but hey, the group is coming off their worst album thus far, I had some hopes: so what did we get from "Let's Rock!"?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

video review: 'turn blue' by the black keys

Well, this was an interesting record to talk about. Once again, not exactly good, but definitely intriguing.

Okay, I'm going to talk about Rascal Flatts, because I listened to the album and hoo boy, this'll be fun...

album review: 'turn blue' by the black keys

If you're a male music fan, there is one statement I can make definitively: over some period of time, either in the past, present, or now, you will be a fan of the Black Keys.

For me, that period of fandom lasted about three weeks in the middle of August 2013. That's not saying I don't like the Black Keys or think they aren't a solid rock band drawing back to the grimy, lo-fi era of garage rock, but my fandom of this act has receded a fair bit over the months the more I've had a chance to reflect on their music. After all, the band's greatest strengths have been their knack for textured, rough-edged melody-driven hooks with a swaggering blues-inspired edge. But here's the thing: the band has long been aware of this advantage, and over the course of seven albums from 2002 to 2011, they milked that advantage as long as they could. Now that's not saying they didn't get some killer songs along the way, but the Black Keys had a formula, and outside of a few stylistic ventures - mostly thanks to Danger Mouse collaborations - they tended to stick to it. And while that formula made for great singles, it didn't exactly make for great album statements. That, combined with the fact the duo has written some pretty obnoxious lyrics - especially when talking about women - did mean that I cooled on the weaker parts of the Black Keys' discography in record time.

And thus when I heard they were planning to switch up their formula with their newest album Turn Blue, I was both intrigued and concerned. I'm all for bands like The Black Keys to experiment, but the opening singles gave me a lot of pause, because not only was the distortion gone, but the synth tone being used seemed really unflattering. A few enterprising critics made a Foster The People comparison, and while I'd disagree somewhat with that assessment, it certainly was a sound far removed from typical Black Keys and not exactly for the better. And thus, I wasn't exactly looking forward to the new album: did I get proven wrong?