- You're the One
- By: The Black Keys
- Magic Potion
- 20 plays
In response to the ridiculous and esoteric and increasingly nonsensical Pitchfork review of the Black Keys’ latest, El Camino, I am bringing it back to their most overlooked album. Literally, Pitchfork, I don’t know what you’re talking about. “The lyrics! The lyrics are hilarious…amid the keening/crunching stomp of ‘Run Right Back’, dropping some serious knowledge: ‘Well she’s a special thing/ She doesn’t read too much, oh/ But there’s no doubt/ She’s written about.’ Which is really just a prelude to the miraculous five-word sequence that is ‘Finest exterior/ She’s so superior,’ which, Jesus. Show me the CARFAX, Romeo.” What? Wait, what? Carfax?
Then this: “It behooves us to take 90 seconds here and figure out how this band got so popular and enduring. The Black Keys were born in the teeth of the early-aughts ‘Rock Is Back!’ movement, wherein a cadre of uncouth garage-y bands all named The ______s saved us from the terrorists and/or the Backstreet Boys. Eventual result: deserved ignominy (the Vines), undeserved ignominy (the Hives), bewildered near-implosion (the Strokes), and bewildering total implosion (the White Stripes). The years have not been kind.” Wait, what? I know I said that already, but what? We’re placing the Black Keys in the temporal space of the Vines and the Strokes? Do you really think Dan Auerbach or Pat Carney gave two shits about the primped and over-financed fancyings of Julian Casablancas and company? Nevermind that they were nowhere until a few years ago, well after even the best of the aforementioned had vanished. Do you really think their music came from a zeitgeist? Is that how we’re supposed to read them? Come on. Don’t you think there’s a reason the lasting (and best) of those “real” rock bands came from the rust belt of Akron and Detroit? Maybe because that’s where the rock is born and where the blues still live? Why don’t you talk about that, Pitchfork? Oh cause that would be hard. Much easier to just talk about the “The” bands. And I don’t even want to talk about the little detour into how they sold out and now represent commercialism in a flannel shirt or something. These guys are the fucking American dream.
And for god’s sake stop talking about Danger Mouse, I know it’s easy, but stop it. “Danger Mouse figured it out, for one thing. He unnecessarily arted up 2008’s Attack & Release (plus the hit off Brothers), and his angelic-choir/space-glockenspiel Super Mario Galaxy fantasias still distract— everything’s a goddamn spaghetti western with this guy.” First of all, he did precisely one track on their last album—spaghetti western, yes, but not here. Which is a credit to all three of them. He cleaned them up, added some new elements and made their garage rock album-ready. I personally think the Blakroc experience played a big part in refining their much funkier and more dynamic sound on Brothers, but that’s me.
In sum, Pitchfork, put some effort into it.