Weight of Love
Following up their fantastic 2011 album El Camino, the Black Keys released Turn Blue on May 9th. The Black Keys are without a doubt one of the biggest names in modern rock and their gritty synth-like guitar riffs with Dan Auerbach’s unique cigarette-esque voice wailing over top can be heard blasting out of speakers everywhere. As catchy as all the Black Keys’ blues-rock anthems are, one thing is certain and that is the fact that other than their huge hit “Tighten Up” the Black Keys have really never had much variation in their music. Year after year they release albums that, as successful and likeable as they are, never really evolve. They seem too content to continue riding on that classic Black Keys soundthat has become a fixture around the world.
Turn Blue is no different. They teamed up with producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton once again (as they did for El Camino). Turn Blue does feature some uniqueness, it offers a selection of songs that are slightly cleaner and have a more poppy sound than in their previous albums. This is prevalent in the single “Fever” which almost sounds more like Hot Chip than the Black Keys. There are some very interesting songs on the album such as the seven minute long opening track “Weight of Love” which culminates near the end with a fantastically hectic bluesy solo. But overall the album really fails to innovate or change mould in any way.
Dan Auerbach has never been known for particularly good lyrics and this motif is continued into Turn Blue. Although the lyrics remain simple and dull, at times they do find new life as they take on a more melancholic tone than previous Black Keys’ albums, this is obvious in “Bullet in the Brain” when he sings “I know I share the blame for what’s in store // I was in the wrong but weren’t you in it more” this change in mentality likely stems from the messy divorce he has been going through and it suits the Black Keys well, their music can go easily with lyrics about women and partying or about heartbreak and resentment.
By no means is “Turn Blue” a bad album in any way, it is more of that head-bobbing Black Keys rock that has made them famous and will likely be well enjoyed most. The only disappointing part is that they don’t seem to be headed anywhere new musically. That being said the album is still more good Black Keys and is definitely worth a listen. “Weight of Love”, “10 Lovers” and the disco infused title track are specifically interesting.