JAKE CLELAND

The Black Keys.

Boy I sure wish I knew precisely what bothers me so much about The Black Keys! Maybe it’s that they made selling-out cool, slapping it in a denim vest and calling it a fact-of-life. This sneaky rhetorical trick makes you seem like a simpleton and an idealist for not understanding the cold realities of the cost of living. Hey, everybody’s gotta get by, I don’t begrudge success, but what do The Black Keys stand for, other than making money? Aren’t they kinda just a dumbed down version of The White Stripes? Even the name is the same!

Or maybe it’s that they trade on the same sexist tropes of rock’n’roll from fifty years ago and I worry that the fervor with which they’ve been adopted shows that absolutely no progress has been made when it comes to the audience making conscientious decisions about which parts of culture to celebrate. The women in The Black Keys’ music are defined strictly in relation to how right or wrong they’ve done by Carney/Auerbach. They’re angels, deified as literal embodiments of feminine ideals, until they fuck up by deciding to pursue their own interests someplace far away from the loathsome duo, at which point the unidentifiable “She” is disgraced. I mean if you can listen to “Lonely Boy”, a song about a girl so beneath the boys who nevertheless tricked them into having their hearts broken, and not feel a little gross, you’re either heartless or not listening close enough. And in fact I think it’s the latter that’s the case with the handful of people I know who’re going to see them at the end of the month, afflicted with the common malaise of wanting nothing more than an uncomplicated good time/shoulder to cry on, who might subconsciously understand and fear that once you start getting into the politics of it all, you’re burdened with the responsibility to feel antipathetic about lots of music that would otherwise be highly listenable. I mean, if you want a cold reality, a real fact-of-life, one that should make you feel like a simpleton for not getting it, let’s talk about how large groups of people are unfairly marginalized and how it shouldn’t be good enough for musicians to make rock songs anymore without taking that into account and acknowledging some responsibility in shaping the attitudes towards that marginalization - if not for the innate good of it then at least for the simple fact that that music would be a lot more transgressive and thus interesting than The Black Keys’ repugnant, libidinal cock-rock.

I almost bought a ticket just to see Royal Headache play support but for $110 a seat, you couldn’t pay me to be there. No, I suppose you could. Hey, everybody’s gotta get by.

  1. goodbyemisery reblogged this from jakec
  2. neveralovelysoreal said: Without getting into anything as highminded as you’re laying out here, I just find them exceedingly boring.
  3. ro-s-a-spark-s said: I like their music, I just wish I didn’t need to be sold to their uber-indie/we’re so holy crap. They make decent rock, good day.
  4. jakec posted this