If you know anything about my music tastes, you knew this would be on the list. The Black Keys are my favorite band, but that doesn’t mean I think everything they do is perfect. In fact, my least favorite of their albums is Attack & Release which was produced by Danger Mouse, who they brought in to produce Turn Blue.
So I was sufficiently nervous for this effort because Danger Mouse overproduced Attack & Release and I don’t think the Black Keys need much production. But Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney came through once again with Turn Blue. Not content to stay with the stadium rock formula that saw El Camino shoot them into the stratosphere of fame, or return to the blues rock of their early efforts, the boys decided to take a psychedelic approach to their 8th studio album.
Featuring some of the longest songs of their career that are more fit for a jam band than a two-piece blues rock group, Turn Blue takes the Black Keys into new territory. Songs like “Weight of Love” and “Fever” are like nothing they have made up to this point. The former, as the album opener, makes you feel like you’re in one of those slow-burning hallucination scenes in a movie based in the sixties. That is to say: It’s awesome.
I do have some complaints about Danger Mouse’s production again, as he tends to insert himself too much. Some of the songs would be better off left to Auerbach and Carney and not aided by some of the added effects. Especially since this album features the most personal songwriting of Auerbach’s career. While writing the album he was dealing with a very painful, and public, divorce. Songs like “10 Lovers” and “In Our Prime” are as powerful and personal as anything Auerbach has written. For a guy who grew up singing the blues written by other men in pain, it took a psych-rock album to bring out the honest pain in his own songs.
The Black Keys did not put their new album on Spotify, so here’s their second single from Turn Blue. It’s a great, classic rock song that sounds like it’s right out of 1975.