Tag Archives: Dan Auerbach

Dan Auerbach is the King of a One Horse Town

20 Jun

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There is something quite old about Dan Auerbach’s second solo studio album Waiting on a Song (June 2017), and I like it. Auerbach, who is the guitarist and vocalist for The Black Keys, has not released a solo album since Keep it Hid (2009), and this new release is certainly different – more modern in its year and more oldies in its sound. It comes as no surprise that Easy Eye Sound (Auerbach’s new record label) holds the catchy slogan “Good Sound Comes Back Around.” Auerbach, though, is able to toe the line between copying the sound he wants to pay tribute to and creating new variations on that sound. So, yes, while Waiting on a Song would have fit the record players of long-haired 1970s-era teens, it still holds a uniquely modern spin that attracts listeners of all ages.

On a track-by-track sample of the album, George Harrison pops into mind, especially with “Shine on Me,” a lively guitar-driven ditty that was one of George Harrison’s staples during his post-Beatles solo career.

The song is carried by its rhythm, jaunty percussion matched with fragmented guitar strumming. Auerbach’s lyric matches the rhythm, persistent with its mention of smiling and shining. It’s almost a bit mawkish, but thankfully there is a brief riff that brings the song back to Earth. It’s a ditty of the finest variety and while I know many Auerbach/Black Keys fans are accustomed to a dirtier blues sound, this deviation is welcome, as it credits a time when music balanced fun and talent.

“King of a One Horse Town” is a bit more traditional Black Keys, but it takes the sooty blues and replaces it with a distorted spaghetti western. The song fits the soundtrack theme with its ethereal echoes and orchestral melodies. The way the twang is balanced by the string motif is masterful, and Auerbach’s vocals fit the piece neatly. It’s another original testament to songs from back in the day.

 

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The Best Songs of 2010: Sneak Peak – Number 11: “Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

14 Dec

Last year at around this time in December I was summing up a decade of music. Today premieres a preview of the top songs of 2010, a post category that will run from December 20 – December 30 (Skipping the Sunday in between). Each day will feature a different song in a running countdown to the best song of 2010. Please understand this disclaimer. All opinions expressed in this list (especially order of songs) are opinions. That’s right. So, if you have another song that you believe deserved a spot, post it in a comment and let’s talk. Also, be nice. It’s New Years and Christmas and overall merriment should be the pervasive thought during this season.

Anyway, before I travel home tomorrow (today marked the official end of Fall semester of my senior year at Binghamton University), I wanted to leave you with the #11 song on my 2010 countdown. The list is made up of 11 songs to mark our transition into 2011 and to hold true to the “one for good luck” axiom. I know. Aren’t I witty? Okay, not really. Let’s get to some music.

#11.) Tighten Up” by The Black Keys

We kick off our list with a song about a dinosaur. Well, no, it’s not about a dinosaur, but Frank, the Black Keys’ puppet dinosaur, does star in the video for this catchy rock tune. Take a listen:

Yes, Frank is infectious, but so is the opening whistle, catchy riff, excellent bass and drum portion (Pat Carney at his best). The song is excellently put together, clean, but rugged. The mini-solo that repeats throughout the song serves as a shaking breakdown (or Frank dance portion). Because, as we all know, Frank is a Funkasaurus Rex.

The song, not to be confused with Archie Bell and The Drell’s “Tighten Up” from 1968 – because who in the world would confuse a Black Keys song with Archie Bell’s awesome hit – appeared on The Black Keys’ release Brothers (May 18, 2010). The song was created by The Black Keys and Brian Burton, a.k.a Danger Mouse (who actually makes several appearances on our list through numerous different projects).

As guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach told The Sun, “That was the last song we did for the record. We had a couple of days off and so did Brian (Danger Mouse) and since we are friends and like hanging out with each other we thought it would be fun to go into the studio and see if we could come up with a tune. We always have a blast when the three of us get together.”

The result was a rock hit that fuses pop and the Keys’ trademark gritty style. Also, let us not forget Auerbach’s vocal which is trademark Keys, bluesy and upbeat. The end of the song definitely shows some Danger Mouse influence, as the song slowly moves into an odd techno, robotic beat and cuts out.

I think the songs greatest strength is in its simplicity. That, and Frank, mark it as #11 on our countdown. Tune your dials to The Music Court on December 20 where we will pick up with #10. I will be back posting on Thursday. Wish me happy traveling tomorrow (and hopefully none of that white stuff)

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