Artist: The Black Keys
Album: Turn Blue
Album Reviewer: Michael Mariscal
The Black Keys have never been known for being especially different. They’re set right in between indie and popular. Sure, they have six Grammys. But tell a stranger your favorite band is The Black Keys and they might pin you as a hipster.
It’s the same deal with their music. Stylistically, they’re not just another grunge rock band. Songs like Turn Blue showcase a jazzy element in their style, and Ten Lovers manages to express possibly the most energy out of all the songs on the album without a single guitar. But the Pearl Jam/Nirvana rock era is gone now . And listening to this album, I can’t find one song that’s different from something some band is doing right now. Bullet in the Brain is Grizzly Bear, and It’s Up To You Now is The White Stripes (playing right into Jack White’s comments).
That’s not to say this is a bad album. Though unoriginal, it has plenty of impressive moments. The soft build up to the climactic guitar solos in the nearly seven minute Weight of Love opener had my blood pumping like it was Warren Haynes playing. Waiting on Words had me singing every time, and there was something addicting about it’s smooth verses that made me smile. Most importantly, the entire album was intelligently produced. Every instrument is tasteful, every sound fitting. Well placed fills and appropriately loud riffs kept every song at least a little interesting.
The end result is an optimistic representation of music as a whole today. Sometimes basic and catchy, sometimes offbeat and indie, it feels like a hybrid of the pop that crowds the radio and the indie that has risen with torrenting and youtube. It’s not ambitious, it’s not risky. But overall, it’s an enjoyable album.