I thought long and hard ’bout what I should say… When I was through it just came out this way! – The Black Keys

Hello and welcome again for another post in my Listening to Music Without Understanding It series. It’s time for another in-depth look at some music, and this week, it’s The Black Keys. 

I was hoping to write something up with them earlier on, in advance of their new album coming out. Then their new album came out a week earlier than I was expecting, and there went that plan! With it out, I wanted to give it some time, check it out, and then report my thoughts. I think we’ve made it to that point!

I also just read the interview of Jack White in Rolling Stone the other day. In it, he kind of called out The Black Keys for riding in on his coat-tails – a fellow two-person rock and blues combo band, coming to popularity after The White Stripes. And I have to admit, I started listening to The Black Keys after listening to Jack White and his many projects. However, the reason I really explored them, and really started to pay attention, is different, and so I will share a bit of an introduction to the band, to why I like them, and hopefully I will leave you interested in them for their own sake!

I’m a Lonely Boy… 

If you look at The Black Keys as starting with their hit album El Camino, then yes, maybe they are just a recently-popular band without a history. After all, you probably know them from this:

And oh man, is that a catchy dance. A catchy song. It’s fantastic, and a great way to start an album. From there, I would actually describe El Camino as a musical. I can almost see it, as the album goes on. Lonely Boy is the opening act, and then it moves on from there, song by song, a narrator telling his stories, moving through a town. Interesting to think of it all as the same characters in the songs, really, as well.

This was not where I first came across The Black Keys, however. That was with their prior album, Brothers. Continue reading