Sound — 7
The Black Keys just keep surprising me with everything that they do, and "Turn Blue" follows a new experimental way of The Black Keys. Is it worth it? In a lot of ways, I was happy but also, in a lot of ways I was madly disappointed. Dan and Patrick almost COMPLETELY ditch the ever so popular "El Camino" sound and even the bluesy garage blues feel of "Brothers" for a much different sound. If you're looking for a nice garage rock album like "El Camino," you are not going to find it here. At best, "Turn Blue" feels... psychedelic. From the more heavy synthesizer sound to even the album cover itself, "Turn Blue" takes on a completely different, more psychedelic feel. In some ways, it sounds really amazing, most specifically in "Fever," "Turn Blue" and "Year in Review." These are all the tracks I was pleased with to a large extent. "Turn Blue" especially made me very pleased with the new changes The Black Keys have made. How ever, as a wise man once said, every rose has it's thorn. There are a few tracks where the new feel just doesn't work at all. I was disappointed on tracks like "In Time" where there is just a constant buzzing in the track. This is a sloppy recording issue that could have been fixed easily. It drives me, personally, crazy. Yet, there are times in which this new feel works for the Keys.
Lyrics — 4
The lyrics in "Turn Blue" are, well, the same as "El Camino," "Brothers," "Attack and Release," and "Magic Potion." Which disappoints me in The Black Keys. All the songs hint at some other themes like travel ("Gotta Get Away"), but they all talk about relationships or break ups. So all songs on "Turn Blue" are psychedelic love songs. What's even worse is that most of the lyrics in the songs are repeated. It really seems like Auerbach and Carney only write a few lyrics, then repeat them over and over again. There are also times in the album where Auerbach takes a risk and attempts to sing in a much higher range than he's use to. This works in "Bullet in the Brain," but, not at all on "Waiting on Words." If you decide to pick this album up, it really shouldn't be for the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 5
The Black Keys have tried new things in "Turn Blue." The album is loaded with potential and good ideas. It's just sloppy and needs work. "Turn Blue" is the definition of a love it or hate it album. The Black Keys decide to try new things, and for the most part it just leads to a confused "...what?" for most listeners. "Turn Blue" made me realize how much I like the garage rock and blues influences of "El Camino" and "Brothers." If we are looking for highlights, "Fever," "Turn Blue," "Year in Review," and "In Our Prime" rise to the top of the album. "Bullet in the Brain" seems like the obvious low point for me. All of the other tracks just confuse me so much. Tracks like "Weight of Love" and "10 Lovers" leave a good idea of what is to come from The Black Keys. "Weight of Love" especially, being the longest track The Black Keys have ever released besides "240 Years Before You Were Born," makes me say, "Dang, I wish this was a little less sloppy." This feels like a dull and boring album, that is meant to set up The Black Keys for a big hit in coming years, almost like the EP "Chulahoma." "Turn Blue" leaves a lot to be desired from the Keys. This is a toss up for me. I really want to like "Turn Blue," but it's just so hard, with all the mistakes The Black Keys made. "Turn Blue" ushers The Black Keys into a new era, but a lot of people might not like this, and start referring their interest to the likes of the Keys' previous albums.