I’ve been a fan of the Black Keys for a few years now (I first heard them in 2003 when Thickfreakness came out. They were featured in some guitar magazine so I went out and bought the CD). It seems recently they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of radio and commercial success on the heels of Brothers, their 2010 album. I’m happy for them and all that, but I can’t help but feel a little bit of that hipster “OMG I KNEW THEM BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT!!” rage.
For the record, I don’t consider them to be sell-outs.
I like Brothers as the best album of ought-10 for two reasons: 1) it’s the best and 2) I appreciate that they went off in a slightly new direction with the album. It’s never easy to change your vibe, but they successfully infused a healthy dose of funk and soul into their already-developed dirty Akron Blues. The result is a unique hybrid that’s both brand-spankin’-new and old-school Black Keys. Also, kudos to them for expanding the tonal palette and branching out instrumentally; the use of keyboards and bass make for some funky rhythms and deep texturing.
For the new, uninitiated Keys fans, I strongly suggest getting your ears on the “old” stuff…especially Rubber Factory, it’s a personal favorite.
And for some fun, here’s “Next Girl,” the best track off the album. The video is hilarious and ridiculous, so naturally it fits well with the spirit of this blog. You’ll have to click on it and go right to YouTube because I can’t embed it properly, DRM and all that crap.
If you want to hear how it really should be played, you’ve got to hear it live: