Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
March 07, 2004
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Rock Music Reviews
The Black Keys

Dear Association for Angry White Boys (AAWB),

though i previously vowed to refrain from critiquing or interfering with your organization, i'm afraid that i must break that oath. now i understand that it's difficult coming from an upper middle-class Christian household where your parents, underwhelmed by your adolescent protests, ignore your pleas for independence (aka a longer curfew). i understand that the small town ennui forces your hand when you would be otherwise placated. i understand that it's unfair you can't wear your favorite Slipknot shirt to church. but for fuck's sake stop conveying your anger through music! sure, Cobain was somewhat interesting because he demolished the tired Glam-Metal of the mid-80's, but your members are rapidly aging and losing their influence. Jonathan Davis is 30 yet still abhors high school; Sully Erna confounds misanthropy with catharsis; and the newest inductees including Linkin Park, Trapt, and Hoobastank are still distraught by the nefarious spirit of their senior proms. please guys, do better.

also, i submit to you Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, aka The Black Keys. now, i know the sound of Blues Rock is a bit archaic even if it spawned the worthless material you consider music, but Auerbach and Carney play it with such efficacy and zest that you'd think they were possessed by the spirit of Howlin' Wolf himself. beginning with the title track, it's obvious that they have something to give to the artform even while the album only consists of a guitar and drums. 'Set You Free' is yet another example of the way these two instruments mangle, buzz, and wrap themselves around your speakers for a little over 3 minutes. equally powerful is the way the band channels the authentically downtrodden anima that Blues so vividly articulated, doing so with both 'I Cry Alone' and 'Hurt Like Mine.' dismissing them as another scale of the alt-garage beast made popular by The White Stripes is simply incorrect. The Black Keys sing the Blues and do it well.

which brings me to my point: you guys don't have to be angry white boys anymore. look, simply because you can't play Dr. Dre or Chingy in front of a single Black guy without feeling even a bit silly doesn't necessitate this ridiculous attempt at musicianship. Auerbach and Carney play historically Black music but they pull it off because they capture and enhance the music's essence, digging deep to find that element of soul that exists within everyone. don't take this as a recommendation to do Ice Cube covers--you better believe i'll shoot your ass if you do--but stop your bitchin.' you don't need anger to play music, you just need the originality and fervor of groups like The Black Keys.


your concerned Black neighbor.

Release date: April 8, 2003
Label: Fat Possum
Rating: 9.0 / 10