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The Black Keys - Turn Blue

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Turn Blue

The Black Keys

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Like corporate drones determined to cut loose every third Friday whether they need to or not, the Black Keys take the time to schedule semi-regular journeys into the unknown. Turn Blue, the 2014 successor to their down-and-dirty international blockbuster El Camino, is one of those trips, a churning psychedelic excursion that slowly pulses in any color you like. Those colors spread out slow and low as Turn Blue gets underway via "Weight of Love," sounding not at all unlike Pink Floyd's "Breathe in the Air," a deliberate comparison the Keys return to often throughout the album, letting it decorate fleeting moments and infuse full songs ("Bullet in the Brain," the first single pulled from the LP, hits many of the same notes). Floyd looked to space but, like the Ohio natives that they are, the Black Keys' concerns are earthbound. Dan Auerbach primarily sings songs about love lost and won, sprinkling in a little bit of lust along the way, and he and Patrick Carney certainly share a love of soul and groove, something that's rarely heard in music as trippy as this. Time and time again throughout Turn Blue, the Black Keys and Danger Mouse turn toward those rhythms without abandoning the psychedelic swirl that gives the album its distinctive flavor. Unlike 2008's Attack & Release -- the last time the Black Keys decided to get out, way out (and not coincidentally their first collaboration with Danger Mouse) -- this has momentum, a drive provided by those heavy rhythms (they escalate so much, "10 Lovers" flirts with glitter-ball disco) and sheets of outsized fuzz guitars that cut through the haze. Songs stretch out longer here than they have on any previous Black Keys LP, but this doesn't feel indulgent due to the precision of the production; things may seem to drift but every bit of fuzz and echo is in its right place. Initially, this immaculately shaded production draws attention to itself but, in time, Turn Blue reveals that underneath its surface flash it's a quietly adventurous and substantive record. The Black Keys retain their fascination with southern soul of the late '60s -- the title track is coolly insinuating, "Fever" stomps and shakes -- but where El Camino pushed these retro-fantasies to the center, they're merely the bones of this record, the solid structure upon which the band and Danger Mouse choose to expand. Although the closing "Gotta Get Away"-- its title borrowed from both the Rolling Stones and the Impressions but the song sounds like neither group -- illustrates how good the duo is when they keep things grounded in the garage, the rest of Turn Blue impresses because it does what all great bands should do: it captures a band stretching while always sounding like themselves. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Turn Blue

The Black Keys

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1
Weight of Love 00:06:50

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Regina McCrary, Backing Vocals - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer - Ann McCrary, Backing Vocals - Alfreda McCrary, Backing Vocals

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

2
In Time 00:04:28

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Regina McCrary, Backing Vocals - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer - Ann McCrary, Backing Vocals - Alfreda McCrary, Backing Vocals

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

3
Turn Blue 00:03:42

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Regina McCrary, Backing Vocals - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer - Ann McCrary, Backing Vocals - Alfreda McCrary, Backing Vocals

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

4
Fever 00:04:06

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

5
Year in Review 00:03:48

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

6
Bullet in the Brain 00:04:15

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

7
It's Up to You Now 00:03:10

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

8
Waiting on Words 00:03:37

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

9
10 Lovers 00:03:33

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Regina McCrary, Backing Vocals - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer - Ann McCrary, Backing Vocals - Alfreda McCrary, Backing Vocals

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

10
In Our Prime 00:04:38

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

11
Gotta Get Away 00:03:02

Brian Burton, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer - Kennie Takahashi, Engineer - Tchad Blake, Mixing Engineer - Dan Auerbach, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - The Black Keys, MainArtist - Patrick Carney, Producer, Drums, Writer - Brian Lucey, Mastering Engineer

2014 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2014 Nonesuch Records Inc.

Album Description

Like corporate drones determined to cut loose every third Friday whether they need to or not, the Black Keys take the time to schedule semi-regular journeys into the unknown. Turn Blue, the 2014 successor to their down-and-dirty international blockbuster El Camino, is one of those trips, a churning psychedelic excursion that slowly pulses in any color you like. Those colors spread out slow and low as Turn Blue gets underway via "Weight of Love," sounding not at all unlike Pink Floyd's "Breathe in the Air," a deliberate comparison the Keys return to often throughout the album, letting it decorate fleeting moments and infuse full songs ("Bullet in the Brain," the first single pulled from the LP, hits many of the same notes). Floyd looked to space but, like the Ohio natives that they are, the Black Keys' concerns are earthbound. Dan Auerbach primarily sings songs about love lost and won, sprinkling in a little bit of lust along the way, and he and Patrick Carney certainly share a love of soul and groove, something that's rarely heard in music as trippy as this. Time and time again throughout Turn Blue, the Black Keys and Danger Mouse turn toward those rhythms without abandoning the psychedelic swirl that gives the album its distinctive flavor. Unlike 2008's Attack & Release -- the last time the Black Keys decided to get out, way out (and not coincidentally their first collaboration with Danger Mouse) -- this has momentum, a drive provided by those heavy rhythms (they escalate so much, "10 Lovers" flirts with glitter-ball disco) and sheets of outsized fuzz guitars that cut through the haze. Songs stretch out longer here than they have on any previous Black Keys LP, but this doesn't feel indulgent due to the precision of the production; things may seem to drift but every bit of fuzz and echo is in its right place. Initially, this immaculately shaded production draws attention to itself but, in time, Turn Blue reveals that underneath its surface flash it's a quietly adventurous and substantive record. The Black Keys retain their fascination with southern soul of the late '60s -- the title track is coolly insinuating, "Fever" stomps and shakes -- but where El Camino pushed these retro-fantasies to the center, they're merely the bones of this record, the solid structure upon which the band and Danger Mouse choose to expand. Although the closing "Gotta Get Away"-- its title borrowed from both the Rolling Stones and the Impressions but the song sounds like neither group -- illustrates how good the duo is when they keep things grounded in the garage, the rest of Turn Blue impresses because it does what all great bands should do: it captures a band stretching while always sounding like themselves. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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