Lose Yourself Here

Dan Auerbach – Still Waiting on a Song…

Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys is back, with his second solo album since ‘Keep It Hid’ (2009) which received some praise but couldn’t quite match the popularity of his current-band. Since then, Dan’s been heavily producing for some big artists, opened and released this record on his new label Easy Eye Sound, straight from Nashville, Tennessee. We can feel through this album that he’s picked up the “Nashville-sound”, adding a twist of pop as well as acoustic rawness, string and wind instruments which captures a new environment for Dan but doesn’t quite meet the expectations of many.

I hadn’t heard much on the album until now, no press or magazine ads and no expectation as to what I should be expecting. Although we know how influenced in blues/garage rock Dan is through his band The Black Keys, his recent gig as a producer for Cage The Elephant on their album ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’ (2015) and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ultraviolence’ (2014) gave me a little idea.

Going through the songs, we start with “Waiting on a Song” is believe it or not, a song about writing a song with a countrified pop sound to it and tangling second guitar licks with intertwine with the pretty straight-forward chord progression. “Malibu Man” does have a delicious mix of a ringing guitar melody, wind and string instruments mixed with some keyboard as well as a hint of xylophone in there, reminiscent of the Black Key’s sound in “Turn Blue” (2014).

“Livin’ in Sin” also has a country-pop rock ring to it, following a similar structure to the opening song, though I have to say I really like the backing-guitar riff in the chorus otherwise not much else strikes me. “Shine on Me” is catchy whilst also being one of the most popular tracks of the record, but that chorus reminds me of my days in Catholic primary school, singing religious hymns that was appropriate for all ages in assembly – although I love the various hinting rock and roll guitar riffs.

“King of a One Horse Town” comes as one of my favorite song on the record, love the keyboards in the background, the ringing guitars and the traversing melodic feel it has of a lone ranger/cowboy. “Never in My Wildest Dreams” is smooth, melodic and quite sweet in terms of the lyrics and the serenading chorus which has a certain raw feel of acoustics accompanied lightly by wind instruments. “Cherrybomb” with that sliding guitar part and a cool baseline talks of a woman leaving the narrator after his money’s gone, leaving him to remember what that old cherry did as she blew right up in his face.

From there, “Undertow” was quite pleasing but the rest “Stand by My Girl” and “Show Me” haven’t popped out for me, like a couple other tunes on the record. It’s great to see the Dan developing not only as an artist but contributor to music through producing as well as opening a new record label. However, not much on this album strikes me as “wow” material like I’ve seen with The Black Keys, he’s taken a more pop sound which at times works in his favor and instrumental arrangement but can feel quite repetitive. I know we haven’t seen anything yet, in terms of his solo career, Dan is experimenting and doing his own thing, being in control of his own label, it will only be a matter of time until he releases something that will engrave his name in people’s minds. After all, 3rd albums are known to have been some of the most popular and well-working records for many bands – let’s only hope this will be the case for Dan.

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