Driven to make the best rock album of the year: The Black Keys’ El Camino

black-keys-el-camino-coverBest Rock Album of the Year

By Rebecca D.

 

El Camino

The Black Keys

2011

 

The Black Keys’ newest album, El Camino is 38 minutes and 27 seconds of pure auditory brilliance.

After releasing their triple Grammy Award-winning album Brothers in 2010, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney continue to deliver and impress with El Camino.

Both from Akron, Ohio, the duo formed a band in 2001 with Auerbach on guitar and vocals, and Carney on the drums. Originally an independent Garage-Rock band, The Black Keys’ genre has evolved into a more of a Blues-Rock/Alternative style of music.

Their seventh studio album, El Camino was released on December 6, 2011 on Nonesuch Records, and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at the Easy Eye Sound Studio with Danger Mouse as a co-producer. Dan Auerbach opened the studio himself in 2010. What makes their newest album different from the last is that El Camino features an increased tempo and more upbeat songs, whereas Brothers included many slower songs.

Dan Auerbach’s vocals are unique and enjoyable. This combined with his many other musical abilities is what makes the album so interesting to listen to. In track 5, Money Maker, Auerbach’s voice reverberates beautifully, especially in the chorus. This song is a perfect example of how well Auerbach and Carney go together as a duo, the drums and the vocals in the chorus balance each other out perfectly. this is the rare song where the guitar does not play the most important role, it’s not as prominent and certainly not as crucial as the vocals and drums in the chorus of this song. After listening to El Camino several times, it occurred to me that Auerbach’s voice reminds me of Anthony Kiedis in several songs on this album, including the chorus of Money Maker, some parts in Lonely Boy, Dead And Gone and Little Black Submarines, (“Operator please, put me back on the line”) and the entire song Nova Baby. Although they have a completely different style than the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Auerbach’s voice had a familiar and comfortable sound to it when I first heard The Black Keys, which is one thing that attracted me to this band.

El Camino is made up of eleven unique songs that, as individuals, are amazing on their own. Combined, these songs produce an album not only worthy of a listen, but also praise and recognition, which is exactly what it got at the 2013 Grammy Awards, winning Best Rock Album along with Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for Lonely Boy.

This album is most definitely an investment I would recommend. My rating is 4.5 stars out of 5. El Camino is ridden with excellent and memorable guitar riffs, drum beats, and easy-to-like vocals. It is overall an especially superb collection of songs from The Black Keys, arguably their best album yet, and should be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.

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