Happy Monday, LemonWire readers! Our song of the day today is “Eagle Birds”, a familiarly bluesy track The Black Keys’ recent album, “Let’s Rock”.
As we did last week when we covered Spoon’s upcoming release, “Everything Hits at Once”, we’ll be looking at songs by The Black Keys this week. We’ll mostly be looking at tracks from “Let’s Rock”, but might head back into their discography to dig up some gems. Get ready for a lot of blues mixed with some pop, rock, and soul (but mostly blues). These guys really like the blues.
But before we discuss the song, let’s first take a look at “Let’s Rock”, The Black Keys’ ninth studio album to date.
“Let’s Rock” released in late June this year, and ended the longest gap so far between albums for The Black Keys.
While The Black Keys are an incredibly prolific and successful duo, when looking back over their discography, there isn’t a lot of variation across albums. Here’s a blues album, there’s another. Wait, there’s one Danger Mouse produced — and this other one has a single that doesn’t sound too bluesy. No. Wait. It’s still blues.
To be fair, The Black Keys’ last album, “Turn Blue” did have a more psychedelic and melancholic feel to it. So maybe “Let’s Rock” represents more of a return to form for The Black Keys.
There’s nothing at all wrong with sticking to a genre, knowing your audience, and being comfortable with your sound as a band. That’s great, in fact, and what some would call necessary to achieve success in the first place. The biggest problem with The Black Keys’ “Let’s Rock” isn’t one of genre, but originality.
The songs in “Let’s Rock” are all well crafted, stripped down, and guitar-led — and call to mind similar albums like 2006’s “Magic Potion”, but a little more controlled and reigned in. Whereas “Magic Potion” is like a feral dog, wild, and untethered, “Let’s Rock” is more domesticated and presentable.
When “Let’s Rock” released, it immediately topped the charts, peaking at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard 200, currently.
“Eagle Birds” is one of three singles released for “Let’s Rock”, along with “Lo/Hi”, and “Go”. It’s a real stompy, riff-heavy blues track, not out of place among the guitar-led album. “Eagle Birds” brings everything you’d expect from a Black Keys single. A heavy, foot-stomping beat, distorted blues riffs that get stuck in your head, a catchy hook, and a wicked solo.
And yet, despite all of these assets, there are times while listening when I just seem to zone out of the song. They’ve got all the elements of a hit single by ‘The Black Keys’ in there, but for some reason, I feel like this is a song I already know, and because of that, I’m not as interested to keep listening.
But we can still talk about the lyrics, right? There’s got to be something good here. Let’s take a look and see.
“See twin eagle birds up in the tree
One for you and there’s one for me
When we thought we might be losing our minds
We saw the signs”
This is a nice little metaphor for couples on the verge of breaking up. And considering Auerbach’ divorce from his first wife and marriage to his second, it seems he’s trying to hold onto this one.
“Don’t nobody wanna be lonely
Everybody oughta be loved sometime”
The catchy chorus that hits a universal human truth is surprisingly poignant and fitting for this simple little song. Although Auerbach doesn’t really go anywhere with his metaphor, at least it makes for a good title.
I don’t want it to seem like I’m not a fan of The Black Keys. I am, and have been for years, since before they released “Brothers”. And I do appreciate what they’re trying to do with “Let’s Rock”, in stripping down their music and heading back to the roots. I only wish that they would have brought together some songs that offered anything else besides more of the same.
Well that about does it for our discussion of The Black Keys’ “Eagle Birds”. Tomorrow, we’ll check out another song by The Black Keys from their discography. Stay tuned, kids. It gets better.