For this week’s Music Monday post I’d like to discuss a band which I have made previous reference to in my ACL post last semester: The Black Keys
I’d like to discuss their music in a different capacity. In fact, I’d like to discuss them in an alternate genre and format. Once again, my wife and I were discussing an NPR story that we had both listened to a month or two ago that was evidently replayed from almost a couple years back (2009 to be a little more exact). The Black Keys joined forces with various hip hop personalities to create the collaborative group, “Blakroc.” Please see the NPR story below:
It’s rather depressing that I am rather behind on the times, but I found the music to be interesting none the less.
The Black Keys, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, are a very edgy rock and blues influenced band. One could argue that hip hop has had significant influence from the blues genre as well. As a kid I was pretty resistant to hip hop music in general. I’m sure there was some parental influence to some extent, and perhaps some desire to be slightly different from my adolescent comrades who had all taken a liking to the music. Regardless of the reason, I had not really started to accept hip hop music until I was in high school. Some friends had introduced me to the likes of Deltron 3030, otherwise known as Del the Funky Homosapien, and Jurassic 5, and I was sold.
Back to the subject at hand. I’m really impressed with how the Black Keys have branched out, and how willing they have been to experiment with their talents. Likewise, their experimentation has made me equally impressed and increasingly interested in their counterparts. In their interview with NPR they give high praise to the RZA of the Wu Tang Clan and Mos Def, both who I think do not get the recognition they deserve from mainstream music fans. However, as amazing as these hip hop artists are, I feel it was Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s desire “to make a hip-hop album since they were teenagers” that really drove this project, and a great one it proved to be.
Please peruse some of the audio/video clips made available on YouTube:
I rarely post on this website, but in the spirit of past Music Mondays I thought I might exercise my ability to do so.
I want to take a moment to talk about one of my favorite bands of all time: Radiohead. I feel like it might be a little childish and arbitrary to talk about my favorite band, but here we go.
Although I am a child of the 80s, what I remember most from my childhood is the music of the 90s. It was in the 90s when I was awarded my first “boom box,” one of my most cherished items, albeit a fable like mechanism amongst this iPod generation. I remember Radiohead’s first single, “Creep,” on Top 40 radio stations and being intrigued. In hindsight, and at the risk of sounding snobby, their debut album, “Pablo Honey,” is definitely their weakest. But that’s what’s so fascinating about Radiohead. Unlike most bands that seem to make it big and spiral into an inevitable decline, Radiohead is a band that has evolved, progressed, and improved as it has aged. Almost every album is unique and takes on its own personality.
I would say that thing that I have always appreciated about Radiohead the most is their music videos. I remember being bombarded my videos for songs from the album “OK Computer” (easily one of my favorite albums of all time) during the summer when I was in grade school. It was in an age when MTV actually played music, and reality travesties like “The Real World” took a backseat to art and creativity. It seems MTV’s and our fortunes have reversed. Never the less, one of the best videos I think I have seen is for the song “No Surprises” from “OK Computer” (did I mention I REALLY love this album). Several things make this video great. For one, its simplicity makes it intriguing and allows for a wide range of interpretations. Also, it’s a testament to an artist’s willingness to challenge himself. Based on what I have read about Thom Yorke, the lead vocalist of Radiohead, he is somewhat of a neurotic individual. He has an irrational fear of drowning, which makes this music video all the more uncomfortable. Once you have a little bit of background knowledge about Thom Yorke, you feel a sense of relief with him by videos end. See for yourselves:
Thom Yorke is said to be a bit of an introvert as well, which I think brings out the brilliance of Radiohead’s new video from their newly released album “King of Limbs,” and thus the inspiration for this post:
It’s difficult to force your enthusiasm onto other individuals/viewers, but I really hope you all enjoy these videos as much as I have and still do.