Artist: The Black Keys
It's been nearly half a decade since their last album, Turn Blue but The Black Keys are back.
On Thursday the Nashville via Akron, OH duo released their latest single "Lo/Hi" seemingly out of nowhere (maybe I'm just old and lame, but it came as a major surprise to me) to delight of their fans that have been anxiously pondering the future of the keys. what-does-dan-auerbachs-solo-career-mean-for-the-future-of-the-black-keys.html dan-auerbach-gave-more-insight-to-the-future-of-the-black-keys-on-cbs-this-weekend.html
Not to make excuses for my sporadic writing, but like J. Cole, I too think one listen reviews are ruining the music industry. How are you supposed to truly digest a song or album after one listen?
After letting this song marinate for a few days, I have my official opinion on Lo/Hi.
Like most meals, it left me wanting a little more. Do not expect to see this on the best of 2019 blog.
While I am absolutely pumped one of my favorite bands ever are making new music again.. like do not miss that. If you remember one thing about this blog it should be that I am fucking pumped the Black Keys are back. With one of my favorite shows, Crashing getting cancelled it's nice to have something I like still be around. I know they have their critics, but I associate their music with a lot of great times in my life. They'll always be one of my favorite bands. I think Brothers and El Camino are perfect. I've seen them live twice, and they were two of the better live shows I've ever seen. (Florence + the Machine is still the best concert I've ever been to)
But this "Spirit in the Sky" rip off with an elementary, Imagine Dragons-esque chorus is a bit underwhelming. Are we really doing "lo/hi... hi/lo" ??????????? In terms of chorus writing this is shade above "Thunder, feel the thunder, lightning and the thunder". I mean how many times has this already be done?
"Low, like a valley?"
Come on, Dan you're better than that.
Don't get me wrong, it's not fully like Imagine Dragons, because it's not a truly horrible song. Despite a weak chorus Lo/Hi has a lot of qualities that I enjoyed. The rest of the lyrics aren't horrible, but sadly they are forgotten due to hill I am fully prepared to die on. But okay, it's time to be a little more positive. This song rocks. Not in like a "you rock!" way, but this bitch gets down. This is some good ole fashion bluesy rock with a little soul. Sure it's sort of sounds similar to a lot of their music from earlier in the 2010's, but there's nothing wrong with a signature sound. The guitar solo around 2 minutes in is classic Dan Auerbach. To me this song is a lot like in rap when a beat can carry a track and the lyrics almost don't matter. It shows they still got it musically, while I do think the whole "low like a valley" thing is pretty fucking tired and lazy. After five years that's all you've got? I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. It's like getting C work out an A student. I know they can do better.
"Lo, Hi, Hi, Lo"
I can't get over that, bro. It's like the blues-rock version of Livin La Vida Loca. All I can think about is "upside, inside out", "push and pull you out" whenever I hear that line. It's just so simple and kind of hacky to me. Although I can't lie Livin La Vida Loca still bangs.
Despite kind of shitting on my favorite band, I still really excited to see what else the Black Keys have in store. I'm not going to write off this latest comeback because I'm not in love with this one song. If anything it makes me more excited to see, or in this case hear what else they've got for us. Like I said, I'm just happy this song exists. It is fantastic news that the Black Keys are making new music.
I just hope next time maybe they can do what I do, and go to thesaurus.com when feeling a little too simplistic. Because I mean I totally get it, not everything is like riding a bike. Sometimes you can't just pick up right where you left off like nothings changed. I feel that in my writing constantly. Like I've lost my fastball due to lack of use. Maybe the same could be said for the Black Keys? Both Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been separately p busy exploring other opportunities in music since the keys went on hiatus after finishing the Turn Blue Tour, but after years apart maybe it's to be expected?
Overall I give Lo/Hi a 7.2/10. The foundation is solid, but the exterior could use some serious work.