Photo Credit: Jim Herrington

THE BLACK KEYS Release ‘Dropout Boogie’

Just as they’ve done throughout their solid career, The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney wrote all of the material for their new album, Dropout Boogie. The album greatly resembles the bare-bones blues rock of their early albums, the first of which was released a full 20 years ago.

The 10 songs on this album are as gritty as the rust belt area that the duo were raised in. These Ohio natives, have written some powerful songs, a few of which can be interpreted as a gut-punch to the manufacturing greed and subsequent decline of this industrial region. I don’t know if this was their intent, but it immediately rang true to me as I listened.

The stylish strut of the opening song “Wild Child” and the following track “It Ain’t Over” move along with a stripped-down simplicity unlike anything in their recent catalog.

The third track, “For the Love of Money”, is one of those rust belt songs. Consider these lyrics, “We got fooled with riches, getting fat on lies. Nothing but trouble here in paradise”. This is the funky 2022 version of Billy Joel’s 1982 “Allentown” or Mellencamp’s 1985 “Rain on the Scarecrow”. Wealth and avarice at the expense of the working class is a timeless topic.

On the track, “Good Love”, ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons helped give the album’s mid-point a shot of adrenaline, with his guitar wailing over a thick bass line.

The stylish guitar work in “Baby I’m Coming Home,” will be familiar-sounding to many Black Keys fans. The music is superbly grounded by the riffs, but happy to venture into the spaces between. It all sounds real, spontaneous, dirty, sexy, and without any frills. It’s somehow basic and complex at the same time.

The albums El Camino and Brothers remains Auerbach and Carney’s best work, but this brief respite (34 minutes), is a formidable addition to a solid body of work. Add it to your library today!

About T.M. Strubel

Deep in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, you’ll find this guy, rocking out at his favorite campground. When not hosting a game of trivia at the famous “Cow Palace,” you’ll find him riding the nature trails in his custom golf cart, listening to music as diverse as Aerosmith, Cream and Pink Floyd, to Jane’s Addiction and Lenny Kravitz. It’s true, he probably shouldn’t be driving so fast with Parkinson’s Disease, but don’t tell him that. He’s been moving and shaking (get it??) to his own beat ever since he snuck out at age 15 to see George Thorogood & The Destroyers. So...if you find yourself lost in the woods some cold night, and hear the mournful sounds of “Folsom Prison Blues” echoing through the trees, make your way to the source. You’ll find a roaring campfire beside a gazebo. Pull up a camp stool and sit next to the guy with the cane. You’ll soon realize that’s not Johnny Cash he’s playing. That would be “Small Town Titans”, and he’d love to tell you about them! Stay awhile. Let’s talk music...

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