You knew it was coming. The Black Keys' Turn Blue is available as an official full album stream, via iTunes radio. Click above to listen to the LP, but be warned that you'll need a newer version of iTunes and OS X in order to play it. Personally, my computer could not play it so I had to use my iPhone.
The Black Keys have come a long way since their first album The Big Come Up was released in 2002, and based on the first single, "Fever," there have been some bad reviews and skepticism about how their newest album would sound. Would this be their most experimental / electronic record yet? Would there be enough rockin' guitar parts? Would that cheesy Farfisa organ sound ruin everything, like it did for some many hit rock tunes of the '80s? Listen for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.
The first song, "Weight of Love," is a fantastic entry point for the psychedelic journey of the album. It's the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 7 minutes, and there are melodic motifs that appear later in "Bullet In The Brain" (and possibly other tracks... I'll probably be going back into this review and making edits as I spend more time with it).
Overall, the album is pretty dark - especially lyrically. Dan Auerbach has always been haunted by demons, but this album might be the most paranoid and neurotic that we've heard him thus far.
Patrick Carney's drums are bombastic and powerful through most of the record. Every kick is like getting hit with a blunt object. "It’s Up to You Now" is a drum highlight, with a groove that sounds a bit like Van Halen's "Atomic Punk" and the Guns 'n Roses take on the same pattern, "Mr. Brownstone." That is, until things open up and the song transforms into a Led Zeppelin flavored jam with a hugeness and explosiveness that are damn good.
The next couple songs, "Waiting on Words" and "10 Lovers," show Auerbach's ability to craft pop songs that sound nothing like the group's early grunge roots. "10 Lovers" even has somewhat of a '90s Dr. Dre sound in the synthesizer sound and funky melody. Danger Mouse is credited as a producer on the album, and for playing keyboards and piano. It's his influence that pushed The Black Keys from a hard blues band to other territories, and his fingerprints are all over Turn Blue.
"In Our Prime" is a song that sounds as auto-biographical as any The Black Keys have ever done, as Dan Auerbach says "We made our mark when we were in our prime." The song fades out slowly, as Auerbach wails on guitar and rocks the tremolo back and forth. This is the human touch that sets The Black Keys apart from their contemporaries. These guys are very physical players on their instruments, and you can feel it in your soul when they do certain things. Perhaps no Black Keys song demonstrates this better than "Your Touch" from Magic Potion.
The album closer, "Gotta Get Away," sounds like countrified arena rock in the style of John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones. You can hear "Centerfield," "Glory Days," and "Brown Sugar" in the tight drum groove and the poppy sensibilities of the tune. The album ends on an up-note, even as Auerbach sings "Gotta get away from you."
For The Black Keys' latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.
|1.||"Weight of Love"||6:50|
|5.||"Year in Review"||3:48|
|6.||"Bullet in the Brain"||4:15|
|7.||"It's Up to You Now"||3:10|
|8.||"Waiting on Words"||3:37|
|10.||"In Our Prime"||4:38|
|11.||"Gotta Get Away"||3:02|