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The Black Keys get pessimistic on “Turn Blue

We’re still a month out from The Black Keys’ new album, Turn Blue. The band released the album’s namesake today, though. The Hell-promising single is exactly what we’ve been waiting for.
The Black Keys aren’t exactly known for being upbeat. (If you’ve been to their hometown of Akron, Ohio, you understand why.) They’re mellow dudes with an affinity for bluesy rock, which is just the way we like them. When they first inched into the music scene with The Big Come Up in 2002, it was that sound that set them apart from the rest of the mix. It wasn’t until Rubber Factory, released two years later, that The Black Keys saw time on the Billboard charts and four years after that, with Attack & Release, that the band broke into the top 20. It wasn’t exactly a quick rise to fame, but a steady progression to becoming one of America’s most standout rock bands.

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If their previous two records are any indication, their upcoming album, Turn Blue, will be the one that lands The Black Keys at the top. 2010’s Brothers peaked at No. 3 while their last album, El Camino, debuted in the second spot. With nowhere to go but up, we’d be shocked if Turn Blue didn’t debut in first place. Their newest single and the album’s namesake is certainly good enough for the job.

Over the twang of electric guitar and a sauntering bass line, lead singer Dan Auerbach unleashes a warning in his perfectly mesmerizing falsetto. “I really don’t think you know / there could be Hell below.” Much like their first single, “Fever,” this track is hypnotizing, but for very different reasons. Auerbach’s warning heeds the kind of attention one might stop and give a screaming street-corner preacher proselytizing about the end of times. There is Hell below, isn’t there? Tell us more, Dan. Tell us everything you know.

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Like with all things made by The Black Keys, “Turn Blue” will grab you by the collar and pull you in, igniting the creation-old dilemma of fight vs. flight. So do we heed Auerbach’s advice and turn back from the Hell below… or fight our way through it?

Maybe Turn Blue will give us more insight into what Auerbach and Carney chose. We’ll find out on May 13.

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