In a world of soundalikes acts and glossy, overproduced modern music, there comes a breath of fresh air with The Black Keys. An duo out of Nashville, Tennessee made up of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums), The Black Keys have won a bunch of awards, topped charts, and sold tons of records. Impressive for stripped down Blues Rock/Garage Rock influenced act, if anything, it proves that people still want to experience music with real soul. That in mind, The Black Keys have been extremely active in recent years, pumping out the album Let’s Rock in 2019, Delta Kream in 2021, and now return in 2022 with Dropout Boogie.
Released on Friday, May 13, 2022 through Nonesuch Records, it marks their eleventh studio record since coming together over two decades ago. Consisting of ten songs that last just about thirty-four minutes, it is a quality piece of new music that spreads good vibes through and through.
Kicking right into gear and setting the mood, “Wild Child” opens the album with easy going rhythms and a irresistible retro sound. Then there is the smooth “It Ain’t Over” which is emotional diverse with hints of sadness, but also sprinkles of hope and endurance felt in the arrangement. This is followed by the very blusey “For the Love of Money,” the extremely catchy “Your Team Is Looking Good,” and cool, melodic “Good Love” which features guitar work from ZZ Top’s own Billy F Gibbons.
Moving forward “How Long” begins with an easy going tempo before intensifying, only to mellow out yet again. A really mesmerizing track, the title is repeated over and over again, especially toward the end, almost as an meditative chant. Thereafter “Burn the Damn Thing Down” brings back a catchier vibe that will get you tapping along and this steady atmosphere is pushed well into the closing of the Dropout Boogie. And in this tail end you have the rich sound “Happiness,” “Baby I’m Coming Home” and “Didn’t I Love You” which show off the broad talents of both musicians. All featuring some fantastic solos, the true finale, “Didn’t I Love You,” softly fades out until it is entirely silent making for a stellar effect.
Overall, Dropout Boogie features some real solid Blues influences that represents The Black Keys pedigree well. Good as background music, but especially good to dig into and enjoy the intricate detail of each song’s arrangement note by note, Cryptic Rock gives Dropout Boogie 3.5 out of 5 stars.