The Best Songs From The Black Keys
Ahh..the Black Keys. I was totally unaware of them until my 20-year old daughter told me about them. Many rock fans know little about them, the band continues to fly under the radar. With do many alternative rock music artists nowadays, there is a lot of great music never being heard.
The Black Keys are studio artists, recording their tracks when they began (in 2003) with home recording equipment (an 8-track), creating CD's, having an online presence and started to have a following. Their fan base grew and grew with each CD released and eventually they were forced to perform on stage in concerts.
The group consists of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. They write all their material. Both are in their early 30s and their net worth is estimated at around $12,000,000. Not bad. It was not until "Attack and Release" CD in 2008 that it was done in a REAL recording studio. Their Grammy's came with their 2010 CD called "Brothers". While a few great songs came from that CD, it continued to be their black blues rock sound and format. In other words, it was limiting and failed to be a really commercial success BUT it did put them into a new level with winning Grammy's.
Their 2011, "El Camino" CD, remains their best. It stands above all the previous and latter CD releases. It was this CD that saw the band expand into real commercial mainstream rock-pop-blues material. With this release, they got rid of the repeated blues riffs and blues songs that they were stuck in. While their Brothers CD hinted a few times of this new direction, it was essentially a blues-rock sound that grows tiresome on a listener.
Unique to many artists is the ability to have a full CD of excellent material. The Beatles were one band you could rely on to have mostly great songs for your money. Most bands have a few and then use a lot of filler. The Black Keys were no different until El Camino in 2011. One would be hard pressed to find a song out of the 11 that they don't like. Whether it is the guitar riff, the drumming, the bass pattern or melody, all are great songs for your money. On this CD, all the stars and magic aligned up for the Black Keys.
The CD remains their "Best of" genre and if you have only one of their CD's, buy this one. Their signature songs are still heard on rock stations:
- Lonely Boy
- Gold on the Ceiling
- Dead and Gone
- Little Black Submarines
- Money Maker
These great songs occupy the first five slots on the CD. Wham! The other six titles are equally great, like Stop Stop, Run Right Back, Sister.
At times, the song sounded like a girl band song (Stop Stop) from the 60's, or like Led Zeppelin's, "Stairway to Heaven". The group used sizzling guitar riffs that reminded me of The Yardbirds or Hall and Oates. The drumming is equally energizing and creative. Many times the guitar riff sounded vaguely familiar from decades ago but slightly different,
More importantly, is that the mark of a great song is its execution and melody. All the songs here have hooks that you recall in your head one way or another long after they have played (unlike their Brothers and other CD's, where there is little to remember).
To sum up, the only Black Keys you need to buy is El Camino. It is at their best.