Turn Blue review by The Black Keys

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  • Released: May 12, 2014
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.3 (61 votes)
The Black Keys: Turn Blue

Sound — 9
The Black Keys forged their first albums based on heavy rock and blues, inspired by the likes of Isaac Hayes, the duo's raw sound on their albums "Attack and Release" and "Thickfreakness" gained them a specific following of avid listeners. As time went on the duo also did recording with Danger Mouse, who helped them on their albums "Brothers," "El Camino" and eventually "Turn Blue." As a band who started their journey with a distinctive blues rock sound "Turn Blue" is a whole new chapter in the story of the Keys, with a distinctive psychedelic sound and a hint of depression the album seems fitting following Auerbach's divorce precedings.

So is it good?

At first when hearing the album many devoted listeners felt almost betrayed by The Black Keys, the album was nothing like their previous releases with several less immediately gratifying hits. However "Weight of Love," "Bullet in the Brain" and "Fever" were still instant head bobbers. The real appreciation from the album comes with multiple listens and time. Once I accepted that "Turn Blue" wasn't another lively rock album I began listening to the instruments and was blown away. We hear not just a classic two man Black Keys but instead they are accompanied by bass, piano and even a lap steal guitar. The immersion of the album is incredible and the influences behind the production are easy to be heard.

Lastly the album cleverly ends on "Gotta Get Away," a much more familiar sound to Keys fans and a fitting end to uplift such a heavy album.

Lyrics — 8
As well as being a sufficient guitar player Auerbach is also well known for his vocal abilities. In Turn Blue Auerbach once again shows us how his voice helped set the band aside from the others.

The moody tone throughout the album can be compared to the likes of older songs such as "Too Afraid to Love You." Of course this tone also corresponds with the lyrics. Much of the lyrics centre around depression, divorce and perhaps love. The lyrics can be taken in many ways and although The Black Keys have written better it is easy to form an emotional connection to the words Auerbach feeds his listeners. The lyrics and music are very fitting for one another and help to make the album not just good but great.

Overall Impression — 9
Although being a whole new direction from their other albums "Turn Blue" is definitely an album I'd recommend listening to. Once you get past the initial changes and really start listening to the lyrics and instrumentation then you can begin to appreciate the album. With such hard hitting songs and meaningful lyrics it is hard to not form a bond with the album and appreciate The Black Keys more than memorable attempt at going in a new direction.

You'll start to find that your instant favourites begin to be swapped out for the songs you can't help but love the words to. A beautiful album which I would definitely buy again if I lost it.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Brothers is a masterpiece, to me. One of my favorite albums. I think El Camino was a great follow up, it's an easy album to drive to, feels like any song could be a hit. Turn Blue worried me, Fever is just so bad. Then I heard Turn Blue. I loved it. Bought the album... I was disappointed overall. Many of the choruses sound alike,and the riffs are similar, but just different enough not to sound like a concept or motif for the album. The Arcs is a return to Brothers form for Dan Auerbach.