• Emma Barsky

The Black Keys: Brothers

The Black Keys are an iconic rock duo. They formed back in 2001 in Akron, Ohio, as a couple of minimalist blues rockers.

They have been pushing the boundaries of a guitar/drums duo and collecting a widespread fanbase ever since.  

Today marks 10 years since the release of their sixth studio album, Brothers.

This album won 3 Grammys and was named the No. 2 Best Album of 2010 by Rolling Stone, behind Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

As an 11-year-old, the track “Howlin’ For You” opened my eyes and ears to rock & roll. I remember hearing it on the radio in my dad’s car.

This bluesy track has a powerful beat that is sure to spark movement in your body - my dad would tap the steering wheel and I would tap my fingers on my thigh and we’d both nod our heads for 3 straight minutes. 

It has 4 simple verses about being lovestruck and its the perfect formula. One verse reads:

“Mockingbird/Can't you see?/ Little girl's/ Got a hold on me/Like glue/ Baby I'm howlin' for you.”

As I grew older and continued to expand my music taste, I never stopped listening to a handful of the tracks from this album.

“Tighten Up” is one of my favorite songs of all time. It spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative chart.

This song is about falling for a wild woman. It is retro-rock gold.

"Someone said true love was dead/ And I’m bound to fall, bound to fall/For you/Oh, what can I do?

Another epic tune, “Ten Cent Pistol” I hear quite often at my yoga studio, oddly enough. It’s featured in a few of the owner’s playlists because it has a nice jazzy, but edgy vibe...and because she is cool as shit.  

The track is about a woman who uses homemade acid to scar her cheating man.

“There is nothing worse in this world/ Than payback from a jealous girl.“

On a more postive note, "Everlasting Light" is a love song with a silky falsetto.

"I'm a shepherd for you/And I will guide you through."

And last but not least, “Next Girl,” a catchy blues tune about an ex, will never get old. 

"I made mistakes back then/ I will never do it again/ Oh my next girl/ She will be nothing like my ex-girl/ It was a painful dance/Now I got a second chance."

Brothers is an excellent album overall and a staple in my vinyl collection.

I’ll leave you with an epic quote from a 2012 Rolling Stone interview with drummer Patrick Carney. 

“Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world..."

"Fuck that! Rock & roll is the music I feel the most passionately about, and I don’t like to see it fucking ruined and spoon-fed down our throats in this watered-down, post-grunge crap, horrendous shit. When people start lumping us into that kind of shit, it’s like, ‘Fuck you,’ honestly.”

Thank you, The Black Keys, for staying passionate, making your own sound and keeping the magic of rock & roll alive.

Show some love to this record on its 10-year anniversary.

© 2019 by Chop n Drop