For this week’s Take It Back Tuesday, I present one of my favorite albums, Attack & Release by The Black Keys. Attack & Release is the 5th studio album from the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. The Keys are a Blues/Rock Band based out of Akron, Ohio. This album is actually the first to be produced by someone other than Patrick Carney. DJ Danger Mouse covered all the production for the album. Without further ado, my interpretation of Attack & Release.
1) All You Ever Wanted – This song shows off the Blues side of the Keys, from Auerbach’s voice to the guitar and drums in the background. Its’ about a prostitute who is looking for love but doesn’t find it in her clients, while the narrator is all she ever wanted but hasn’t found.
2) I Got Mine – The most popular song of the album by far. The beat is much more up-tempo than “All You Ever Wanted”. The song is clearly the rock side of the Black Keys, with the heavy drums and guitar throughout. It puts a different spin on the album and is almost saying the Keys can do much more than just the slow, blues, sad music.
3) Strange Times – The first single off of the album. The song seems to be about a time of peace in a city that was preceded by chaos. The city is then thrown back into chaos and the narrator is attempting to save a girl from it. That is just my opinion though.
4) Psychotic Girl – The title says everything. The song is about some crazy girl he has been messing around with. He heard rumors about her but dismissed them until he actually started to get with her. Now he wants to get out of it before he gets lost in her world. This is probably the most relatable song on the album since everyone has a psychotic lover at some point.
5) Lies – My favorite song off the album. The song depicts a “hidden” relationship. At first the narrator wants his lover to lie to the world about them. Feelings begin to develop and the narrator falls in love but she doesn’t return the feeling. Desperate for her love, he asks her to lie and tell him she loves him the same. The most beautiful song on the album.
6) Remember When (Side A) – This is the slower version of this song. It’s about memories from the past, conjured up by the mention of a girl. He remembers the good times they had together and how it ended badly. Now he wishes he could go back to those times. I like this version better than Side B.
7) Remember When (Side B) – The sped up version of Side A. There are some more lines to help better explain the story behind the song. But all in all it’s the same song with a different feel to it.
8 ) Same Old Thing – This is the first time an instrument other than a guitar and drums. Throughout the song you can hear a flute in addition to the usual drums and guitar. The song is about someone who continually gets into relationships that end on a sour note. The person keeps getting their heart torn and begins to lose the thought of true love. No matter who they are with they can’t escape the pain of a rocky relationship.
9) So He Won’t Break – This is an extremely sad song. A man just got his heartbroken and is clearly on the edge, no matter how high he tries to hold his head. The man begins to turn to pills to cure his depression but it isn’t working. So the narrator is telling someone, all she has to provide him with is love and he will become his old self again.
10) Ocean & Streams – To me the verses and the chorus of this song have two different meanings. I feel like the second verse and the chorus go well together in explaining a man in his old age, reminiscing on his past life. But the first and third verse seem to be about a man committing an unthinkable act and trying to run from it. I’m not sure how to interpret this song. Maybe you could give me some insight.
11) Thing’s Ain’t Like They Used To Be – The album starts and ends with what the Keys do best, Blues music. It’s the reason I love their music. The chorus to this song is actually a duet with Auerbach and then 17-year-old country/bluegrass singer Jessica Lea Mayfield. This is easily the saddest song on the album. It seems like a woman walked out on the narrator, either on a proposal or the wedding day, when things are supposed to be perfect. The narrator goes to see a woman who can give him the wrong kind of loving. As the narrator continues on with his life, he finds himself falling into a depression, obviously wounded from the events of his past. The album ends on the same sad note carried throughout it.
Listening to this album in its entirety and writing about it has me seeing it in a new light. The heartbreak and pain in this album is so overwhelming, it is like Dan and Patrick are writing from their own experiences. For an album to carry this type of emotion through the whole thing is truly amazing. The Black Keys have released another studio album and a rap/rock album under the name Blakroc. Make sure you check out their new stuff along with their older music.