An album I have been waiting for for about 5 years now finally came out today. The Black Keys new record "Let's Rock" was released worldwide today. The first thing I did after I woke up and fed my kids breakfast was download the record, and I have been listening ever since. I wanted to do a kind of instant reaction to this record. I wanted to try something a little different. I usually give an album 2 or 3 listens before writing about it. But, The Black Keys are one of my all time favorite bands, and I wanted to write about the record as I heard it in its entirety the first time.
So, first reactions right off the bat, I really like the record. I'm sure I will grow to love it with more listens, but right now, I just really, really like it. It has a bit of a different feel from their previous records. That is a good thing. I have said that I appreciate when bands deviate from what made them famous and try something new. That is why I loved "Turn Blue" by them so much. It was a big departure. "Let's Rock" doesn't have that psychedelic feel that "Turn Blue" had though. "Let's Rock" reminds me a ton of Creedance Clearwater Revival, who I also love. It is a rock record through and through. There are some songs that have that wonderful distorted guitar sound I instantly fell in love with, but then it shifts into a slower rock song. That surprised me in a good way. I listened to the three song EP they put out a few months ago, with the songs "Go", "Hi/Lo" and "Eagle Birds", and I loved all of those. But, they were straight up rock songs. There are some songs on this record that are way different, and I bet when I see them live in a few months my appreciation with grow tenfold.
The opening track "Shine a Little Light" starts off super hot, with a great guitar riff and drum groove, and then it slows down to an almost ballad. It is jarring at first, but as the song moves, it gets better and better. "Tell Me Lies" is one of their slower songs, but I like when they do stuff like that. I like when they slow it down and go a bit away from their comfort zone. "Fire Walk With Me" is a great closer to this record as well, I just finished my first go through. It wraps up the record perfectly. I'm going to keep listening because that is what I do, especially with Black Keys records. I want to get a real feel for it.
The second go round has just started for me, and I am already super in to it. Even more so than the first time, which is a good sign. I keep bobbing my head with all the new songs that I am hearing. Look, I was predestined to like this record. I love this band. I have been a fan since I first saw them on an MTV2 awards show back in 2002. I have followed them ever since. When I see them in a few months that will make, I believe, the tenth time I have seen them live. The Black Keys are a great band. I'm actually shocked they aren't more famous, because they are so god damn good at what they do.
First reactions? "Let's Rock" is a good mix of their old sound, and a new thing they are trying. I love that they keep adding something new to their sound with each new album. That shows growth. They have never gotten stale. Keep up the good work gentleman, and I cannot wait to hear these new songs live.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He likes to bob his head around to let his kids know how rock music should be. Up and down is a “yes, do not stop rocking”. Back and forth is “no, do not ever stop rocking”.
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