The Black Keys
Turn Blue


2.0
poor

Review

by David Foster Wallace USER (72 Reviews)
May 6th, 2014 | 125 replies | 6,916 views


Release Date: 05/13/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Turn Blue is the best." "Lot of loyalty for a hired fan." "It's a pretty big record." "For you." "If I strip off that Danger Mouse production, would it die?" "It would be extremely painful."

The new Black Keys album is tripe.

Readers of this review are welcome to disagree, and to state why they disagree, but the point here is that the new Black Keys is tripe. The band has been on a steady decline since Blakroc came out, and Magic Potion was arguably their peak, with the strongest collection of songs produced by the band to date while still shifting away from the early, raw blues they embodied towards a more conventional throwback rock sound. The last album the Keys put out, El Camino, could be considered the culmination of this move towards accessibility, making butt-dad-rock (and way to blatantly “borrow” from Stairway to Heaven) for radio airplay on your local alternative-rock radio stations.
The new Black Keys is tripe, because it doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Auerbach and Carney obviously recognize the faults of their last release, and actively try to move away from that with Turn Blue. They seem to want to keep their hardcore fan base while trying to appeal to a more casual audience. With this comes a complete shift in tone. Turn Blue wants to be the less accessible Pink Floyd records, a slick Danger Mouse production, and a return to the basics of what made the band sound great, but neither of these directional approaches head anywhere. The tunes here meander from slick, almost disco-esque songwriting to superfluous, psychedelic musings and half-hearted attempts at soul/gospel.

Songs like “Fever” indulge themselves in chintzy organ jamming and slow-burn dance aesthetic while songs like “Weight of Love” so desperately want to be Floydian in nature while keeping the band’s reputation for writing slick, three-minute tunes that can only muster up a modicum of heart.

Turn Blue is mediocre, because it sounds like the Black Keys.

Look, Auerbach and Carney are never going to change their formula. It’s arguably too successful for them not to, but this is where the problem lies. The idea behind the sound (throwback blues) may be an inherently good thing (although this really depends on your views of throwback rock and if its canonization in the history of music is of significance or if it’s just an unnecessary footnote), but the band’s sound has stagnated. It features the same type of Danger Mouse production that the last three Keys records had: tinny and under-produced while putting huge emphasis on guitar, keyboards, and vocals. The only difference is the bass is more prominent this time around.

A band like the Black Keys can’t afford to stagnate, or maybe they can. If I could accurately predict the way music fans think, then I would assume that said fans are getting bored of hearing the same exact record every couple years or so. This is probably great for fans of the Keys, but for everyone else, it’s best if you just sleep on its existence.


You can find the stream here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/station/first-play-black-keys-turn/idra.862705000



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user ratings (214)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2014


10405 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

harsh

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

1 neg already killin it

Kris.
May 6th 2014


12345 Comments


neg so hard

scottpilgrim10
May 6th 2014


3406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Weight of Love is fantastic. The rest of the album is okay.

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

neg me I'm a whore for yr negs Keys fans

ASnideReturns
May 6th 2014


4205 Comments


Boring as fuck, but still their best.

Digging: Black Veil Brides - Set the World on Fire

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

pan so hard that shit crazy
y'all know that negs don't phase me
I can give the keys a low 2 and look you at like
this shit crazy

pan so hard
this shit weird
pitchfork looking at me so scared


NorthernSkylark
May 6th 2014


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

we get it. You don't like it. jeez

Digging: Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy

Ire
May 6th 2014


41762 Comments


yeah JEEZ

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

look at these opinions

look at the weight of them

look at how it

matters

demigod!
May 6th 2014


44348 Comments


i think rubber factory was their peak, but i still enjoy at least a bit of everything up to and including el camino to a degree

but this?

idk

i feel like whatever lingering shred of passion and care they had is finally dead

RIP Black Keys you had a good run

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Salvidian
May 6th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Inb4PopularAOTY

XingKing
May 6th 2014


10561 Comments


That is one of the worst summaries I have ever read and of course it's based on a shitty meme

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the original summary was going to be "strong 2, light 1" - Anthony Fantano

NorthernSkylark
May 6th 2014


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

their songs are getting really samey and bland lately. Their cover art is getting worse and worse, too.
They've made better stuff than this, come on now..

Salvidian
May 6th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album is Black Keys. Not much more has to be said.

NorthernSkylark
May 6th 2014


3227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's the black keys in decline, agreed

Urinetrouble
May 6th 2014


5760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

can we talk about how frippertronics is one of the worst users on the site, just like how bad this record is? was honestly thinking of making that comparison within the review

demigod!
May 6th 2014


44348 Comments


band minus giving a shit equals zzz

Salvidian
May 6th 2014


752 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah in decline I mean.



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