First Tracks

When the Lights Go Out – Black Keys from Rubber Factory

Last weekend, Sarah and I listened to a great podcast on our drive from Key West to Miami.  NPR’s All Songs Considered did a show discussing great first album tracks.  A first track often sets the tone for the rest of the album and in the case of an artist moving in a new direction, it’s the chance to convince fans to stick with the rest of the album.  A lot of their selections were rightly from the heyday of the album, the 60s and 70s.  Some that has to be attributed to the rise of the mp3 and the supposed death of the “album.”  But, there are still bands out there that are still in the album-making business, and the Black Keys are certainly one of those.

2004’s Rubber Factory was the Keys’ third album, but my first proper introduction to the band.  When the Lights Go Out is a fantastic opening track.  On the NPR podcast, they talked about how the good openers either were fast-paced and up-tempo or had an ethereal, almost not-there vibe.  This track is neither of those.  It’s slow, but it’s surely not airy.  Patrick Carney’s drums are beefy and Dan Auerbach’s guitar screeches and then settles into a bluesy riff.  Dan’s lyrics are sung like a classic bluesman.  The whole affair has a dirty vibe to it, I imagine this being played in a basement, with a flickering light bulb, the guys playing amongst boxes and discarded furniture.

The other thing is that there is a pent up energy in this track.  The song ends with Dan sayin “alright” as the drums stop and the guitar gives us a few more tortured bars.  It’s almost like a declaration of ok, we’re warmed up now.  You know these guys can let loose and rock the house, but you’re going to have to stick around to hear it.  And they do.  Psyched to see these guys play in a month.

Anyone else got some killer first tracks they love?

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2 Responses to “First Tracks”

  1. Grand Openings « Meadow Muffins of the Mind Says:

    […] when it comes to first tracks, it’s about energy.  Quoting again from NQ on the Black Keys: The other thing is that there is a pent up energy in this track.  The song ends with Dan sayin […]

  2. Sarah Says:

    2 points for black keys.

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