Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Record of the Month

I figured I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' kind of thing. This could be viewed as a lame placeholder kind of post. And probably it is. But it's my blog! So there!  

I'm finding Ohio Players, the new album from the Black Keys, to be more of a mixed bag than I'd like. 

They're lead "single", "Beautiful People" just seems a re-re-rehash of some of their other work. Artists like to lead with their strongest material, but this time, this isn't the one.  Not digging their opening song on the record either - "This is Nowhere". It's like the title is ripe for reviewers to use in an unflattering light. 

And "On the Game" is just blah - but I notice it's been fed to the XM stations, which I think if' you're trying to draw people in, this isn't the one. This is a shame, as Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, did co-writing on the tune and performes on it as well. 

They're bigger collaboration here is with Beck - who cowrites about half the material and performs on it as well. Overall, it doesn't change the tenor of the disk until you get to "Paper Crown" which sounds just like a full-blown Beck song. That isn't the plus you might think it is. 

It's not all bad news, of course. There are some stellar tracks here (see? mixed bag). 

"Don't Let Me Go", "Only Love Matters" are great.  "Candy and her Friends" seems different enough from most anything they've ever done. It's not an out of the park song, but it captures my attention for sure.  Ditto with "You'll Pay". The falsetto kind of works on this. 

I think the biggest issue with the disk is that it's busy. As the Black Keys technically are a band of two, they've always augmented their sound as needed with some additional musicians. This one has upward of two dozen additions. The boys almost get lost in a few of their own songs because of the crowd. 

Maybe some of this will grow on me the more I listen. I enjoy the band, so that they have a handful of good songs here is really good. I wish it had been more. 

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