Yesterday Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys released the lead single "Shine On Me" from his second solo album "Waiting On A Song".
It's more poppy and upbeat sounding than anything I've ever heard from The Black Keys, The Arcs (Auerbach's other band) or from his other solo stuff before.
It's still growing on me after multiple listens but it's definitely different, kind of hard to believe this is him at first. (Which I'm not even saying is a bad thing) I'm not like the "cool" hipsters bashing him in the youtube comments. I understand that artist change overtime, just like all people do.
The guitar in "Shine On Me" kind of reminds me of the riff from Haim's "Honey and I" and beat has a little bit of George Harrison's "I Got My Mind Set On You" going on. HIGHly recommend checking out the music video . V colorful featuring a live action Auerbach in a trippy cartoon world with frogs, a ton of aliens, and a demolition derby. Looks like this was a lot of fun to make.
With Auerbach's solo album coming out on June 2nd and Black Key's drummer, Patrick Carney busy working with girlfriend, Michelle Branch (remember her from 2001???) on her latest album. It seems like the odds of The Blacks Keys getting together to make an album in 2017 are minuscule to say the least. Which means fans of the Akron, Ohio based duo will need to wait at least another year.
After basically touring non stop for 5 years after their breakout 2010 album "Brothers", The Black Keys are taking a well deserved break.
The band has not released new music since 2014's "Turn Blue" which IMO was a disappointment compared to their last three albums. It's not bad album, but it does not have the staying and replaying power of Brothers, El Camino or even Attack and Release. I don't really crave hearing it like I do with their previous works.
Carney had this to say in an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this month about the future of The Black Keys:
""I love making music with Dan and I'm excited for when we do that next, and we will do it. But both of us have PTSD from being on the road constantly," says Carney. "This will be my first summer not working since I was in 7th grade. I mean, I wake up every day and I'm like, 'I can't believe the shit Dan and I accomplished.' But every day, it feels further and further away, even though it's only been a year and a half. I was talking to [Arcade Fire's] Win Butler and some other musicians, and I was, 'What the fuck, we haven't played a show in a year and a half!' and they're like, 'Dude, every time we put a record out we take a year and a half off. You need to chill out.'"
To me as a Black Keys fan dying for new music that quote is sort of bittersweet. Obviously they deserve time off to relax and enjoy what they've earned, but as a music fan you always want more of your favorite artists. It's encouraging to see Carney say "we will do it" referring to another album. That makes me hopeful someday we'll get next music. But at the same time I feel like it could be a very long time before we get new music from the duo out of Akron since he said it feels like "they're growing further and further away everyday".
It has only been a year and half since they last toured which isn't that long, but in the time since their last album there has been little to no detail released in regards to plans for a follow up to Turn Blue. All their social media accounts have basically been inactive except for the occasional sale on t-shirts for two years.
In the time since "Turn Blue" was released Dan Auerbach has started a new side-project called "The Arcs" who in 2015 released an album called "Yours, Dreamily" and now he's doing a solo album. To me this kind of feels like it could be the start of a break up. At least every reading this in regards to the break the Black Keys are taking:
"He's a different type of person than I am. He has a harder time appreciating the things he's earned," he says of Auerbach. "Do you know what people say on their death bed? They fucking regret working too much, and Dan and I have worked our asses off. I'd like to see him take a break. The reason why [the Black Keys] are taking a break is for him to take a break."
I don't know, I could totally be off base here but it's odd to me when they say the whole reason they're taking a break from The Black Keys is because (in the Rolling Stone article) Carney said they both have PTSD from being on the road so much.
Yet Dan is out touring and making new music. I mean I get it, as a musician he probably just loves doing this and it's not even work to him, it just worries that this time that is supposed to be about taking a break has not been. Could this be the beginning of the end for The Black Keys?
This feels a lot like when a couple takes a break with the intentions of getting back together. Then once they're out in the world single again having fun all of sudden, maybe one (or both) doesn't want to go back. Like in that movie "How To Be Single".
Dan and Pat could have intentions of getting back together, but they played together for almost 15 years. They released 8 albums together. That's a pretty good run. Lots of really good bands don't make it that long. This just reminds me a lot of the White Stripes and how they ended with Jack White just doing a million side projects when they were on "hiatus" only to never reunite. While I don't expect Dan's solo album to be such a big commercial success that he just says "fuck it", and only does that, but you never know what could happen.
All I know is that I would really like some new Black Keys music. At the very least maybe a tweet from them letting their fans know what the future holds for them. I don't think that's asking for too much.