Black Keys and White Stripes

Black Keys and White Stripes

Yin and Yang. Yesterday and today. We follow soft and low with loud and high. This could be filtered, of course, biased and different due to age and so on, but I don’t care. As in, yeah, I’m a Classic Rock, Classic Blues kind of guy, but I want to see it burst into the present and beyond.

So what might represent the relatively new? At least 21st century Rock, Blues, Punk, Garage? This might be a pretty good start:

Jack White versus the Black Keys. Apparently, that’s a thing, too. A rivalry between fans, at least for some. Mocking each other’s commitments and abilities to recognize the real when it shocks and shakes the ears. You know. What we humans call “fun.”

This Jack White song mixes and flows with the raw, the cooked, the tease. Released in 2003, it updates older blues forms, twists them into electric pretzels and sweeps and cleans the mind, recklessly. It’s so simple it hurts, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Okay, so bounce this Black Keys song off the above, and, perhaps, compare it with Zep and Cream, or thereabouts. 1960s Rock, to which it pays homage. Written by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, recorded in late 2018, this one adds a southern edge, and also updates bluesy forms for a new era.

Lo/Hi is a return to form for the band after a hiatus of a few years. Artists often need that, or they move on to other pastures, other sonic landscapes, or burn out. Not sure who’s right about the latter, though. Lennon disagreed with Neil Young’s take on Rust Never Sleeps. Burn out or fade away? I think I’ll take door Number Three.

Overall, I think Jack White’s attitude takes the day, but my old ears would have preferred a lower, deeper guitar sound in both cases. Buzzier, more resonant, lion-like, as opposed to thinner, cat-like licks. Both songs rock, and I love the athleticism and joyous aggression of their pickins, but a wider and lower auditory palette is more my style.

This town is big enough for all of that and more.

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