“Turn Blue” – The Black Keys


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Anything that producer Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) touches is pure gold. Not only did he co-produce The Black Keys’ eighth studio album, Turn Blue, but he also co-wrote a lot of the songs with guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. This fact is very evident in the album’s opening song, “Weight Of Love.” It sounds a lot like another album Danger Mouse worked on earlier this year, Broken Bells’ After The Disco. A nearly seven-minute-long opening track was a bold move for the Keys, but it plays out well and fully introduces the new psychedelic sound of the band. Auerbach stated that Turn Blue would be primarily a “headphone record,” which it undoubtedly is, once again made evident by “Weight Of Love.”

The record’s first single, “Fever,” was met with mixed feelings, as many fans worried there would be less guitar and more synth than on previous Keys albums. Although there is clearly more emphasis on synth leads and basslines on Turn Blue, there is still plenty of guitar riffing to go around. For example, one of my personal favorites, album closer “Gotta Get Away,” is pure classic rock with a guitar solo and power chords galore. Growing up listening to bands like The Eagles and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, I instantly fell in love with this track. Meanwhile, songs like the searing “Bullet In The Brain” showcase the aforementioned new emphasis on synth and bass.

The album title, Turn Blue, describes the Keys’ lyrical content pretty well on its own: The lyrics all point to Auerbach’s vicious divorce, and you can really hear his pain as he sings lines like “Pour me down the drain, I disappear / Like every honest thing I used to hear.” As truly heartbreaking as Turn Blue is, it still manages to be one of the best albums of 2014 so far. If you like the rest of the Keys’ discography, you’ll grow to love their new psychedelic sound.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: Weight Of Love, Fever, Bullet In The Brain, Gotta Get Away


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