Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Album Review "Waiting on a Song", by Dan Auerbach
It has been over three years since The Black Keys put out their most recent album Turn Blue. After the massive tour they did to promote it, the band decided it was time to take a break for a while. Since then guitarist and front man Dan Auerbach has been spending a lot of time in Nashville writing and recording day after day with a multitude of legendary local talent (though Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler played on the single Shine on Me); the end result being his second studio album Waiting on a Song (his first solo album in eight years).
Waiting on a Song was written and recorded over several months at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, which is the record label owned and run by The Black Keys. Auerbach and his friends wrote and recorded at least 200 songs and then picked and chose from the best of them in order to make the album. The album of course was produced by Auerbach himself, since naturally he knew what he wanted most from each song being put on the album.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard Auerbach was recording a solo album. I knew he had done one before a while back, but I hadn't heard anything from it. That said, it made it all the more exciting because the lack of expectations meant that whatever I did end up getting was going to be fresh and not be compared to anything else. That said, I was still a bit surprised by what Auerbach put out. Waiting on a Song definitely isn't a rock n' roll album by any stretch of the imagination, though it doesn't really fit into any category for that matter.
Honestly, it has a bit more of a country meets psychedelic meets pop meets southern rock meets so many other things vibe to it. It's just its own thing. It isn't a loud or raucous album, really. It seems more focused on melody and lyrics than anything else. Actually, it's kind of nice to see Auerbach take such a creative departure from what he usually does with The Black Keys. You can really tell he is exploring and having a great time doing it.
You would think that something that is so eclectic wouldn't really be so cohesive, but it is. Waiting on a Song has this overall presence to it that no matter what track you're on it still feels like you're right in the same yard. Everything flows from one tune to the next seamlessly no matter how different they may be. I have to give Auerbach props for that. It takes a lot of creativity and a steady hand to be able to pull something like that off.
These are such simple songs at their core, but the way all the musicians came together to put layer upon layer upon layer on them is what makes them a feast for the ears. At the same time, the big band playing all these songs doesn't get so grand that it takes away from the rawness and pure emotion driven feel of them. Auerbach and his band managed to strike a rather delicate balance, which is in my opinion something special.
The songs on Waiting on a Song feel like they have been around a lot longer than they really have, and it's not just because of the retro feel some of them have. They have this ageless and timeless quality to them that makes them feel like they have been a part of your life forever but have only just now shown up on your turntable/CD player/playlist/whatever. You feel like you're at home, just drinking a beer on your deck looking up at the stars on a warm summer night from the moment you put the record on.
If you're a fan of the loud rocking Black Keys sound, this might not be the album for you. It's not something to play if you want to shake the rafters and blow out your speakers. If you go in with no expectations though, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I find myself playing Waiting on a Song over and over and over since it came out, finding some new detail that I didn't notice before that I can appreciate now. If nothing else though, there are at least a few catchy tracks that you'll have a hard time getting out of your head.
Waiting on a Song, by Dan Auerbach receives 4 out of 5 stars.
1. Waiting on a Song
2. Malibu Man
3. Livin' in Sin
4. Shine on Me
5. King of a One Horse Town
6. Never in My Wildest Dreams
8. Stand By My Girl
10. Show Me
Buy the album on Amazon: