With our top ten Black Keys songs list we look at the career of a very good Garage Rock duo who were first formed in Ohio in 2001. Their music is a very unique mix of garage, blues and indie rock that all makes for a very interesting listen. Having produced ten albums over the course of their twenty-one year career, they have also proved to be a consistent band with a lot of creative energy.
The Black Key are made up of vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney who have both been friends since childhood. Not long after their formation, they signed with indie label Alive and released their debut album The Big Come Up in 2002. After this, their career soon took off and they quickly built up a strong following with frequent album releases and live tours.
It took quite a long time for The Black Keys to really breakthrough into the mainstream, which happened in 2010 with the release of their three times- Grammy Award winning sixth album Brothers . This success was further continued with their next album El Camino which got to number two on the Billboard 200. The single from this album “Lonely Boy” was a massive hit and also won three Grammy Awards. Then in 2014, they released their next album Turn Blue which became their first US number one album. Despite this massive success, The Black Keys went on a hiatus in 2015 which lasted until 2019 with the release of Lets Rock. They have received much acclaim over their career and are a band with their own distinctive sense of identity. So with this list, we pick out what their ten best cuts are.
# 10 – Little Black Submarines
Kicking off our top ten Black Keys songs list is this track which is the fourth track and single from El Camino released in 2011. The songs begins as an acoustic ballad before exploding into a loud hard rock song. Critics were very positive about the song and named it as one of the highlights of the record. It got to number two on both the US Alternative Songs chart and the Canadian Alternative Chart. A music video for it was filmed in Nashville, Tennessee and it charted high across several different charts.
# 9 – Just Got To Be
This next track is an earlier cut from The Black Keys career taken from their fourth album Magic Potion which was released in 2006. This very bluesy number was featured on the soundtrack to the video game NHL 2008. This album was their first to be released on Nonesuch Records, where they have remained ever since.
# 8 – I Got Mine
This next cut is taken from The Black Keys fifth album Attack and Release released in 2008. This is another track that really showcases the band’s blues influenced sound. This album was produced by Danger Mouse, making it their first record to be done by a major producer. Although it was absent from the charts, the song proved to be very popular, being used in several television programmes and commercials.
# 7 – Your Touch
With this next entry we go back to Magic Potion with this track that was released as one of its singles. Like several of the band’s songs, this track enjoyed a lot of promotion through being featured on several television and video game soundtracks. This song, whilst still bluesy has more of a modern garage rock sound to it, making it rather reminiscent of The White Stripes.
# 6 – Howlin For You
Our final entry on the first half of this list is taken from The Black Keys sixth album Brothers released in 2010. This is another song that cemented the band’s place in popular culture by being featured on many video game and television soundtracks and commercials. A very unique music video was made for the song which was a homage to Tarantino-style western revenge thrillers. It was nominated for Best Rock Video at the 2011 MTV Music Video Awards. It was also a high chating song that got on several different Billboard charts.
# 5 – I’ll Be Your Man
Next up we go right back to the beginning of the band’s career which is with this song taken from their debut album The Big Comedown released in 2002. Here was an album that was a far cry from the chart-topping act that The Black Keys are today, as it was all recorded in drummer Patrick Carney’s basement. This track was used as the theme tune for the HBO programme Hung.
# 4 – 10 AM Automatic
Here we have another track from the early part of The Black Keys career taken from their second album Rubber Factory released in 2004. It was featured in the video game MLB : The Show as well as tv shows such as The OC. It got to number sixty-six on the UK singles chart and has its own music video.
# 3 – Everlasting Light
At number three is the opening track from Brothers which was not released as a single but is nevertheless considered to be one of the Black Keys best songs. It is a song that shows a sense of maturity in the band. It is not blues influenced in anyway and has a nice laid back feel to it. As far as album openers go, it is one that really does a good job of setting the album up to a good start.
# 2 – Countdown
Just off the top spot is this track from The Big Come Down. As previously stated, the album is much more raw and minimally produced than much of their later work and this track is one of many short and sweet bluesy numbers featured on it. Being very much a DIY affair, the album was not widely distributed and as a result sold little and thus the band did not make a lot of money from it. However, the attention it did get quickly started build the Keys their own fanbase and it also got positive reviews from critics who heard it. It was not long before the band would start to enjoy bigger success.
# 1 – Strange Times
Topping off this list is the debut single from Attack and Release. This is a very crucial track in The Black Keys catalogue as it was the first single to establish their sound to a wider audience, as this album was their most successful at the time of its release. It is yet another track that got promotion from the wider world of popular culture, being featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto 4 and the tv series Dexter.
Top 10 Black Keys Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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