El Camino- Kind of Repetitive…

Standard

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: El Camino (Released 12/6/11)

For a band that was supposed to be blues-rock all I really got from this was a nice dosage of rock nostalgia and not a hit of blues…

 

This Billboard review had me thinking twice about this album’s blues edge I figured they would have.

After reading Rolling Stone’s review, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the Led Zeppelin reference or John Bonham mention. They mention that the song Little Black Submarines is an acoustic blues song, and about halfway through the electric guitar riffs you can hear Led Zeppelin in it. I will agree that it does sound about Zeppelin-ish to me, but with what sounds like female vocals in the background I really reminded me more of The Rolling Stone’s Gimme Shelter.

For a band that is of a blues-rock genre, I really didn’t feel too much blues in the album. That could just be me and not being able to detect it, even though rock-and-roll is derived from blues music, I just don’t hear it. It sounds like a mesh between the old 80’s classic rock bands, and those same bands if they were much… happier with more synthesizer action. If you listen to their album Magic Potion you can hear the blues so much more, especially in Just A Little Heart, in that album it sounds closer to older rock-and-roll than it does now.

Overall I enjoyed the album. There isn’t a song there that I can definitively say that I hate and would not listen to again. It’s one of those pieces where everything sounds good. Just because everything sounds good though, doesn’t mean that it’s flawless. While listening to this album straight through, with the exception of pauses it’s hard to tell where songs start and end. After several tries at listening to the album straight through, all the songs start to sound very similar. Which they do, they repeat the act of clapping in their songs which makes you wonder if they’re losing their creative edge. It’s understandable to be repeating techniques in an album, or in any several songs because it’s just two people in this band; but the songs all do start to sound the same after a while.

Rolling Stone also managed to answer that question I had about the minivan on the album cover, apparently it resembles their first touring van. This is wonderful news to me, it was driving me crazy because I’m well aware of what a Camino looks like, so that van being there just threw off all of my thoughts as to what that car looked like.

This also serves to explain the album choice, the title, and the album.

I think that is a definite must read, mostly for the funny story as to why their first touring vehicle (that suspicious serial killer minivan) smells like pee. That’s a story to tell the grandchildren for sure.

Since ‘El Camino’ means “the road or the path” in Spanish, this album title is really relating to the long journey this very talented duo took in their road to success. It depicts the early struggles of the band, especially in a pee-soaked minivan (I really can’t get over that, it’s so funny).

Also you find out that these guys really love their old classic cars, so if this album does nothing for you, if it really doesn’t spark any interest, check out Carney and Auberbach, because based on their interview they seem like pretty cool, easy-going dudes. Plus, they have funny stories to tell, at least check out what they have to say.

I do enjoy this artist very much now, I’m going to have to check out their album Magic Potion again in its entirety. The Black Keys are a good band to listen to when you want something modern to remind you of the past.

 

El Camino- Sister

Standard

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: El Camino (Released 12/6/11)

What to listen to when your parents were right about that awful girl you were dating and now you’ve dumped her and she’s totally hating herself crying in a corner wishing she didn’t screw up…

Track #7 Sister

Like I said before, I do like really long titles, so don’t be surprised that the heading has gotten longer with each post.

Also, just to say, when I was re-listening to this song it started to pour like crazy. It’s as though Mother Nature heard it, said “Oh yeah rock on girl, here’s some atmosphere” and threw in a crazy storm for me.  I love it.

So, by the title I thought I was going to get some sort of family song that has to do with… well, a sister, or some sort of sibling relationship. I probably should have known better considering the tracks on this album have mostly been about them not changing and people trying to take advantage of them, or losing out on a loved one, silly me for thinking a sister was involved.

Anyways, listening to this song I get the idea that well, the male here is incredibly angry while the girl is just there feeling sorry for herself. I mean, you really get the vibe that this guy dumped a girl who clearly didn’t know what she had, took advantage of him, and he finally got rid of her. You also get the idea that she wasn’t the same person she was when they started dating.

“Sister, sister what did they do to you
Sister, sister what did they do to you
Did they take and try to break
A heart that long
It’s so wrong”

So he calls her sister, I guess like when we’re having a regular conversation and we say “oh sister you’re so stupid” or “what’s up my brother” that answers my ‘why is it called sister’ question. The rest of the song goes on to say how she took advantage of the one who showed her love. It’s kind of like saying “oh, well you took advantage of me and this is what you get”, that’s how I interpret it. To me, it’s definitely a song about some girl a guy dumped, and clearly it seems like she deserved it.

Billboard has done a track by track review of the album, and what they said about Sister didn’t give me too much to go on. Except that it seems like the plot for a Lifetime movie, which, I’m going to have to agree with. It does set the mood of a type of love story gone wrong that includes women crying and men feeling sorry for themselves, then feeling incredibly angry. Perhaps Lifetime should consider this as a sign to make a movie for it (even though, they must have 100 of them by now) and use this song as a soundtrack. The review is completely correct in saying that hand-clapping and synthesizers perk up what would be an incredibly moody and dark song. It does give a lighter feel to the song, but I would like to hear how this song would sound if there were no synthesizers or clapping, I’d enjoy a look at it with a darker view.

Overall, good song, it sounds great, the lyrics are nice (not nice as in friendly, the lyrics just sound good together). If you’re an angry guy and you think your girlfriend deserves to be in a hell-hole right now, you should probably take a look at this song.

 

El Camino- Run Right Back

Standard

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: El Camino (Released 12/6/11)

What to listen to when you have a crush (or you’re stalking),or can’t get over a girl…

Track #6 Run Right Back

So it may be unorthodox to say here, listen to this song because you’re stalking a girl, but hey if it works then it’s fine. There’s plenty of other songs to listen to if you have a weird, abnormal crush/obsession with a girl, but this one has a rock tone to it, so it makes it all the more acceptable to listen to. I don’t believe that the song is about stalking, I think it’s about having this attachment to a girl and wanting to be closer to her, but you know, sometimes attachment becomes stalking. Who am I to judge for that?

“Before she hits the ground
She’s gonna want to explode
Never step aside
Never run and hide

She holds it all up under
That pretty head of hers, oh
It comes screaming out
In an electric shout”

These are the first lyrics you hear within the song, which happen to be my favorite. Now listening to it I get the impression that this girl they’re singing about isn’t exactly perfect. She has flaws, she keeps her emotions bottled up tight before she explodes and lets everything out in the open. Yet I continue to listen to the song and I get the impression that there is an interest towards this girl.

“She’s the worst thing
I’ve been addicted to

I run right back
Run right back to her
I wanna jump the track
And run right back, I’m sure
I run right back to her”

When I listened to those lyrics I thought it was something you would listen to when you have a crush on someone and you’re not willing to let yourself listen to Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. To me, it has this meaning of wanting to do anything for a girl, especially one who seems to be under pressure and not letting herself share any emotions. By saying “run right back to her” I get the impression that the two were once an item, but they are separated, and he desperately wants to have her back.

So this song can work really well if you like a girl and she doesn’t notice you, your ex-girlfriend dumped you and you desperately want her back, or, you’re just crazy and have a bizarre attachment that you should probably seek help for.

I really do enjoy this song. It’s one of those songs that the music just blends perfectly with the lyrics with the nice sounds of the guitar and the drums in the background. The singer has this voice that really brings you back to the 80’s when you would listen to Mick Jagger sing or listen to The Doors. It’s one of those voices that you would instantly connect to rock and roll, even if the music isn’t the same.

This song would be something I would recommend to others (or, as teenagers do now, add it to their Facebook page) just because I think the words and the music tie in together so flawlessly. It’s just one of those songs that you can enjoy on your iPod and not feel guilty about having it there at all.

Lyrics here

 

Gold on the Ceiling

Standard

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: El Camino (Released 12/6/11)

Best song to dance to when you don’t know what on Earth they are saying…

Track #3 Gold on the Ceiling

Okay, first the song title is cool. I’m one of those people where the longer the song title the more interested I’m probably going to become in the song, this isn’t exactly an epic poem, but the title does spark a bit of interest. First let’s start with the overall sound of the song, we’ll save the confusing lyrics for the end. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t want to head bang and risk bouncing your brain through the frontal lobe, and you don’t want to be caught grinding in a nightclub with glow sticks and other various club materials, then you’d likely enjoy dancing to this song. It has a nice sound, it’s mellow and it makes you want to stand up and sway. If there is not a single bone in your body that knows how to dance, this song is also perfect for you. It’s easy to follow along and clap to the sound of the clapping and the tambourine, no one can really mess that up. The guitar sounds great, it has a nice rock sound while the singing and the drumming sound more mellow, it’s a nice blend.

Apparently The Black Keys have this need to create music videos that are really confusing and also verge on the creepy side, according to MTV, but the video here seems pretty normal.

Now let’s get on to the lyrics I very much could not understand. Luckily, they aren’t the type of singers where if they’re singing, you don’t know what words are coming out of their mouth. It’s more or less that I don’t understand what the lyrics mean and what the song is about. Their words are fine and you’re not left wondering if you’re listening and singing to the right words, because there are many artists out there that like to perform and you don’t know what they’re saying (like Led Zeppelin, I mean really ,who understands what the heck is being sung in Kashmir? Or The Immigrant Song?)

What had me confused was what do they mean by “they wanna get my gold on the ceiling”. What is gold on the ceiling?

The beginning of the song:

“Down in the waves
She screams again
Roar at the door
My mind can’t take much more”

Makes me want to believe that there’s a girl there, wanting his attention trying to get to him, but gold on the ceiling throws me off. Reading the lyrics a few times makes me wonder if it’s about a woman trying to take his money or wealth. After several attempts at trying to find the meaning, I settled on the rather obvious choice of going through their forum, where other people were just as confused as myself. Here several people share the same idea that it’s a woman trying to get his wealth, that these gentlemen know the difference between their true friends and those riding on their coattails of success.

Either way, kudos to them because the music is catchy, and the lyrics will keep you wondering.

The Black Keys – First Post

Standard

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: El Camino (Released 12/6/11)

Honestly, before this project I’ve never heard a single song from The Black Keys. Though the name sounded familiar I never bothered to give them a chance. The band itself has an interesting name, and the album title El Camino does make you wonder what their album is going to be like. Not sure about everyone else but when I see El Camino I think of a rather interesting truck/car hybrid that should just not ever be allowed to resurface.  So when I look at the album cover the first thought should be “Oh look it’s that car that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be while it was being constructed so it had to be a weird little hybrid.”

But no, there is no such car on the album cover (unless that is a type of Camino, and I’m just no very educated when it comes to cars). Instead it’s a creepy white van with wooden detailing that makes it look like the car should belong to one of America’s many lovely and creepy serial killers. Maybe Ted Bundy, or Son of Sam could own the car.  The album cover, aside from reminding me of creepy serial killers, is pretty basic and simple. It does make me wonder what I’m in for listening wise.

According to Yahoo Music, The Black Keys is a music duo group, which is surprising to me, I assumed they would be a basic rock band. The band plays “raw blues-rock”, the singer/guitarist is Dan Auberbach and the drummer is Patrick Carney.  So not only are they just a duo, they do include an organ in a few of their songs, are influenced by the greats such as Jimmy Hendrix and James Brown, two people who cannot do anyone wrong, and they even have cool last names. Auberbach and Carney? Even more interesting.

Clearly I am in for an interesting musical ride. Based on the album cover, knowing that it’s a duo playing an interesting musical mesh of blues and rock, I expect to enjoy their music. It’s almost like a trick, the album cover. It’s so simple and plain, you think the music is going to be just the same, but when you look up the band and realize it’s only two people, you start to wonder ‘hey only two people playing and they’re on their seventh album, they have to be doing something right’.  Now I don’t expect to fall in love with this band and immediately want to stalk their lives and follow them on tour, but I’m hoping I can find a new musical group to listen to, perhaps broaden my horizons when it comes to the genres of music I listen to.