by Caitlin Baldridge
The Black Keys are a garage rock duo known for their bluesy guitar solos, gritty rock vocals, and overall modern approach to good, old fashioned, rock ‘n’ roll. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney created the Black Keys over a decade ago but didn’t gain a strong following until their 2010 release of album Brothers with “Tighten Up” which won three Grammys. The band continued to become increasingly popular with every release, and the professionalism in production was drastically improved as well.
Turn Blue is their eighth studio album which is quite impressive considering they only formed in 2001. The band is continuing their partnership with Danger Mouse with help writing and producing and the influences of blues and classic rock are still heavily prevalent. The varied instrumentation the band exhibits is very impressive with Auerbach on guitar, vocals, organ, piano, synth, and bass. While the talent is present, the band does very little to change up any stylistic elements from their previous releases. While they have succeeded in producing a catchy single here and there, over all the years they haven’t taken any risks in their music. Every song on the new album sounds like something they’ve made before, and as each track comes and goes it’s pleasant but quite forgettable.
The single “Fever” begins with a groovy bass line continuing onto a falsetto verse and eventually an uninventive chorus. The lyrics and melody are boring and nothing we haven’t heard before. The entire album is like this with the exception of a couple tracks that are more catchy and enjoyable such as “Turn Blue” and “Gotta Get Away”. I commend the band’s authenticity in their realness of instrumentation and vocals, and the reminiscence of classic rock, but the difference between the Black Keys and the greats is that they never take risks. All of their albums sound the same, and while the talent is there, the creativity isn’t.