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Single of the Week: The Black Keys – ‘Lonely Boy’

Single of the Week: The Black Keys - 'Lonely Boy'
November 4th, 2011
Author: Paul Daniel

You can imagine their excitement. Not the kind of band normally to appear on the MTV playlist marked ‘heavy rotation’, The Black Keys nonetheless win the Breakthrough Video gong for ‘Tighten Up’ at the station’s 2011 Video Music Awards.

The duo don’t attend in person – the prolific Ohians are probably otherwise engaged in knocking out yet another album or just not expecting to win. Some days later, there’s a knock at the door and it’s the man from Humongous Delivery Corp. with their silver-plated, moon-walking, standard-bearing trophy, of which they are so deserving and which is inscribed with ‘Winner – Black Eyed Peas’.

Easy mistake to make, right? Sure, if you are the kind of person who routinely confuses syrup with tar. Fortunately, there is no mistaking the creators of ‘Lonely Boy‘, the first cut from The Black Keys seventh studio album ‘El Camino’, an intoxicating, knee-jerker of a song with enough dirty bits to make even will.i.am jealous.

Coming on like the more worldly distant cousin of Eels’ ‘Souljacker Pt I’ and driven by Dan Auerbach’s swamp-drenched guitar, this is exactly the sort of record that the producers of True Blood will be falling over themselves to have soundtracking their next set of vampire lust fantasies. With lines that veer quickly from the sneering to the sincere (‘Well I’m so above you, it is plain to see, But I came to love you just the same’) and a meaty bar-room chorus washed in organ and reverb, ‘Lonely Boy‘ would fit just as well there as does in their ever-increasing back catalogue.

Which is perhaps the only problem with The Black Keys – range. For although this is thoroughly enjoyable stuff, it is very much them at their default setting: full-tilt, fuzzy blues done in three minutes (this song actually ends a good five bars before you’d expect.) Their last album hinted at something a bit more diverse, which may arrive with ‘El Camino’. In the meantime, this will do nicely and it seems churlish to ask for more. Aside from having people get your name right, obviously.


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