The Black Keys — Dropout Boogie
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have done pretty much everything old school. As The Black Keys, they write most of their material in-studio, they record much of their high-end garage rock songs in a single take – hell, they even still make “concept” music videos (if you were born after 1990, ask your folks what those are). But for their 11th studio album, the duo decided to alter their approach by inviting writers into the studio with them to help hash out new material. The result is Dropout Boogie, a tight set of funk ‘n’ blues that plays to the band’s strengths.
It doesn’t take long to get into the “outsider” contributions. The first track on the album (and the lead single) is “Wild Child,” a crunchy groove of a tune with Greg Cartwright (from Reigning Sound) and Angelo Petraglia (who’s produced and written with Kings of Leon) lending a hand on this good old-fashioned come-on – “You got me coming out of exile/Baby girl, you know I’m liking your style.” Petraglia also chips in on “For the Love of Money,” a slide-lover’s dream of a tune about the pitfalls of wanting (and getting) too much – “Don’t need to tell you that money can buy you love, love/Once you get money then you’ll never have enough.” Later on, Billy Gibbons pops up on “Good Love,” an appropriately swampy blues tune sporting some hot guitar licks from the ZZ Top vet.
Continuing their penchant for not-your-father’s sports anthems (“Gold on the Ceiling,” anyone?), The Keys dive in headfirst with “Your Team Is Looking Good.” Featuring Sierra Ferrell on vocals and driven by percussion and a rhythmic guitar line, this cut is more of a taunt than a cheer – “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust/You beat everybody, but you won’t beat us.” Like the album title itself, it’s a throwback to underachiever glory days. “How Long,” though, is a completely different vibe, something between dreamy and forlorn – “How long/Will you keep pushing me down the road/Thinking Imma do just what I’m told?” – bolstered by waves of guitars. “Happiness” claps back on that kind of life suck, with a warning for procrastinators in life and love – “You’re gonna be the one who/Didn’t do it when you could.” While the blues that The Black Keys trade in are full of bad love, the boys know that’s actually worse than having no love at all.
Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Baby I’m Coming Home” – a straight up rocker that borrows its groove from “Midnight Rider” and piles on the tempo changes and an excellent Southern fried guitar solo or three.
Dropout Boogie was produced by The Black Keys, engineered by M. Allen Parker and Caleb VanBuskirk, mixed by Tchad Blake and Tom Elmhirst and mastered by Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone. Songs were written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, with co-writes going to Greg Cartwright, Angelo Petraglia and Billy Gibbons. Additional musicians on the album include Gibbons (guitar), Sam Bacco (percussion), Sierra Ferrell (backing vocals), Andy Gabbard (guitar, piano, Wurlitzer, backing vocals) and Ray Jacildo (harpsichord, Hammond organ, piano).
Order Dropout Boogie (out May 13) here: https://theblackkeys.com/collections/dropout-boogie
Check out tour dates here: https://theblackkeys.com/pages/tour