Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Black Keys
"Brothers" (Vinyl & CD)

 Released in 2010, this was the Akron duo's sixth album (third with Nonesuch) and their mainstream breakthrough. It was their first Grammy win, it was their first chart-topping single, their first blockbuster album sales.
So it's tragic that this was the beginning of their end for me.

The Keys began as a dirty, fuzzy garage rock blues duo that played bars. Of course they had dreams of fame and fortune, but I didn't know that meant they would change their music in order to achieve success.
As it stands, the Keys early albums (on Fat Possum) are my favorite albums. Their first release in Nonesuch (Magic Potion) was still fantastic, but everything since then has shown a decline into radio-friendly pop-oriented rock that feels very generic by comparison.

"Brothers" is an improvement over its predecessor, but still points the band in a new direction that has gotten them MTV play and magazine covers regularly.
I won't begrudge the Keys their success; they've worked hard for it. Similarly, they'd better not begrudge me the opinion that they used to be a much better, more important force in rock 'n roll.

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