June 16, 2017 Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song (Album Review)
Dan the man has been a busy man. Eight years since the release of his debut album, Keep It Hid, released in 2009, Dan Auerbach returns with a lighter heart in his chest and an acquired taste for fluffy, poppy love songs. His sophomore solo album, Waiting On A Song, released June 2, 2017 via Easy Eye Studio, is the album people will bring to the bonfire by the beach to watch the sunset, get drunk, and fall in love in a place like Cali, particularly Malibu, even though this is in actuality “a love letter to Nashville.”
Thus, Auerbach took it upon himself to recruit some of Nashville’s most respected players to assist, including John Prine, Duane Eddy, Jerry Douglas, Russ Pahl, Pat McLaughlin, as well as Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman of the Memphis Boys – all his “musical heroes.” No stranger to the biz and a musical hero to many himself, Auerbach is a force from one of the biggest Garage Rock/Blues Rock bands the Indie scene has spat out, which is obviously The Black Keys. This man has recorded and co-produced eight-studio albums with his sidekick, Patrick Carney, and these efforts have earned him countless of nominations and wins, including 9 Grammys. Furthermore, Auerbach continues to stimulate and challenge the creativity gods with other interesting side projects such as the Arcs, an act that started out in 2015.
So yes, there is some pressure to deliver something better than fine, and Waiting on a Song makes some major overtures. Auerbach’s creative energy fondles the trigger in a direction that stems away from that moody, bluesy, Classic Rock-like sound and more into a peppy, Pop acoustic one.
Right off the bat, what does not make a shot and got gone are those edgy, mind-bending riffs that made Auerbach’s last album top-notch (especially in the song “Heartbroken in Disrepair” which is seriously an amazing tune). This album is stripped of its fever, of its pedigree, and perhaps fans just do not know what to do with this new gentle touch.
Understanding that an artist like Auerbach is experimenting and evolving, this new route of easy listening becomes a bit repetitive in songs like “Waiting on a Song” and “Livin’ in Sin.” It is almost as if the melodies have been made up already. While it may be the summer anthem album with songs like “Never in My Wildest Dreams” and “Stand by My Girl,” the lyrics are trite and lack introspection. They are sweet and lovely, but petty.
This does not renounce the sexy, silky milk in Auerbach’s voice in songs like “Malibu Man.” He would have no problem serenading a girl into her wildest dreams. Despite the glitches and the stitches, this album is overall above quality in comparison to other mainstream noise on the radio. The album is worth a press due to the spotlight that each instrument is given in the process. This is especially evident in songs like “Shine on Me” and “King of a One Horse Shoe Town.”
The only true bite to bare is that this decently crafted album lacks impact. Barely half an hour long, it seems rushed. In this granular grief, bring on the bonfires, bring on the sunsets, bring on drunk-love, and maybe we will know what to do with Dan Auerbach’s gentle touch. CrypticRock gives Waiting on a Song 3 out of 5 stars.