meta-scriptPress Play At Home: Robert Finley Performs A Bluesy Version Of "Country Boy" With Dan Auerbach | GRAMMY.com
Press Play At Home: Robert Finley
Press Play At Home: Robert Finley

Robert Finley

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Press Play At Home: Robert Finley Performs A Bluesy Version Of "Country Boy" With Dan Auerbach

In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, Robert Finley performs his soulful song "Country Boy," from his autobiographical new album 'Sharecropper's Son,' with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach on guitar

GRAMMYs/Apr 15, 2021 - 10:23 pm

Do the delineations between country, blues, R&B and soul really matter? They don’t seem to with Robert Finley. By letting his mesmerizing voice just fly and telling a terrific story in doing so, the singer/songwriter defies neat categories: This is Black American music that just feels good.

In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, Robert Finley performs his bluesy, soulful song "Country Boy" at Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Studios in Nashville, where he recorded his autobiographical new album Sharecropper’s Son. He's joined by R&B studio veterans Eric Deaton on bass and Kenny Brown on drums.

The presence of Auerbach on slide guitar (he also produced the album) shows how the torch is being passed between generations. This rootsy jam won’t just take a weight off your shoulders; it’ll fill you in on where Finley came from and where he’s going.

Watch Finley’s performance of "Country Boy" above and watch more episodes of Press Play At Home here.

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Tyler Hubbard Press Photo 2024
Tyler Hubbard

Photo: Jimmy Fontaine

interview

Inside Tyler Hubbard's New Album 'Strong': How He Perfectly Captured His "Really Sweet Season" Of Life

On the heels of Tyler Hubbard's latest album release, hear from the country star about the biggest influences for 'Strong' — from his "unique relationship" with his hometown to making Keith Urban jealous.

GRAMMYs/Apr 15, 2024 - 07:53 pm

Country fans first got to know Tyler Hubbard as the voice of Florida Georgia Line. Upon his solo debut in 2022, they got a deeper look into his life as a devoted family man. Now, the chart-topping singer/songwriter wants to show his skills as the genre's feel-good party starter.

Hubbard's second album, Strong, turns up the energy with 13 tracks that focus on spreading the joy he's feeling in his own life. There's several parallels to his self-titled debut, including another tribute to his late father on "'73 Beetle" and reflections on his small-town Georgia upbringing with "Take Me Back" and "Back Then Right Now." Yet, every narrative feels more celebratory — buoyed by Hubbard's purposeful delivery, his hopeful lyricism, and uptempo melodies.

It's a natural evolution for Hubbard, who has projected positivity in his music and his image since his FGL days. And now that the world has welcomed him as a solo act — including two No. 1s at country radio with "5 Foot 9" and "Dancin' in the Country," and several sold-out shows in 2023 — he felt it was only right to bring good vibes with his second LP. 

"I was carrying the momentum from last year — the first album, being out on tour, the energy from the fans," Hubbard shares. "If you come to my live show, it's a lot of happy, fun dancing energy, and that's what I've really enjoyed kind of leaning into right now."

Ahead of Strong's release, Hubbard sat down with GRAMMY.com to chat about his album process. Below, he breaks down the most important components, from writing nearly every song on his tour bus to happily riding in the "good time lane."

Building On The First Album

The first album was more of an introduction to who I am, and this album is more settling in. It's inspired by the live show more than anything, and the fans themselves, as opposed to me and my story. 

I kind of want [these songs]to feel like distant relatives to the first album. I'll use that analogy a lot of times in sessions and just say, "Let's elevate, and let's move forward and progress, but let's keep it in the same family." 

When I was writing both these projects, it was a tough time. You know, going through the pandemic and all that brought along, transitioning into different careers and not knowing what was gonna happen with FGL for a while. Obviously, my marriage really inspired the song "Strong," but there's sort of that principle [from album one to album two] of going through a hard season that you come out on the other side of it stronger. 

Writing On The Road

Last year, I was getting in front of my audience for the first time [post-pandemic] and really getting to see what they wanted, what was resonating, what was working, maybe what was missing in the set. So I was able to pull that energy from the fans right back to the bus. The majority of this album I wrote on the road last year, which is where I love to write songs. I love to write in town too, but [there's] something about being out on the road — you just feel a little extra creative and a little less distracted. 

Back in the day, when we were starting off and really roughing it, we didn't have anything else to do but our careers, so we'd come home from the road and we'd write three or four days a week, and then we would go hit the road and play shows. But now that I'm a husband and a father, I try to compartmentalize it, so when I'm home during the week, I can take some time off to be with the kiddos and my wife.

And fortunately, now, I have my own bus, so I can bring writers out, and we can just hunker down on my bus all weekend and write songs. It's pretty fun because you kind of feel like you're binge writing a bit. But once you get in that creative space and your wheels are turnin', it's nice to stay there for more than four or five hours like we do in Nashville, turning it off at 4 o'clock and going home. It keeps it fun.

Creating Music For The Stage

We were mainly thinking about the live show [when we were writing]. It just felt like [we were writing] songs I couldn't wait to play live. 

There's some heart, there's some depth, there's emotion and vulnerability in a lot of these songs that I like to play live, but overall, I want it to just feel fun. There's enough stuff in our world to make us sad, so I'm just like, if I can put music out that makes people feel good, that's what I want to do. 

Especially in the context of our genre and our culture — it feels like there's a lot of sad boy country going on right now. You know, nothing wrong with that, I like to get real and emo a bit. But I think if everybody's doing one thing, I try to lean to the other. And right now I love where we're headed, in the good time lane.

I was soaking up everything Keith [Urban] was doing [while touring with him last year]. I watched his set most nights. He's kind of the king of fun tempo live energy. [We were] either [trying to] make Keith jealous or make Keith want to record one of the songs we write. So some of these songs are probably inspired by trying to get a Keith Urban cut. 

"Park," "Wish You Would" and "Vegas" are [three] of those songs. They go really well live and have been really, really fun. The crowd starts moving in a weird way when ["Wish You Would"] comes on. It looks like they're just, like, lettin' loose and not really coordinated at anything. [Laughs.]

"Back Then Right Now" is the single, so people are knowing that one [more] and it's cool to see them singing it and engaged. "BNA" is gonna be a lot of fun to play live. I could probably play this whole album top to bottom and be pretty happy with that being the set.

Honoring Where He Came From

I wanted this album to still be dynamic — as uptempo as it is, I still wanted the fans to be let in a little bit more into who I am and deeper into my life. Hopefully with each project I put out, I have some songs that let people in a bit more and tap into a vulnerable place, and challenge me as a person and a writer to just continue to go there. 

I have a unique relationship with my hometown. I love where I came from, and I'm proud of where I'm from, but it's not somewhere that I'm still living — I've been in Nashville longer than I was in Georgia, I've been here for over 18 years. A lot's changed since then. The house I grew up in is not there, my dad's gone, my mom's moved to Alabama. 

It's an interesting dynamic, because in our genre, it's cool to be really proud of where you're from, and really pay homage to where you're from. And I still do — a lot of these songs are literally born because of where I came from. But at the same time, I don't have that same relationship with where I'm from. I just thought it was a little bit of a different approach on the relationship with the hometown with ["Take Me Back"]. I hope people can relate to it.

Recruiting Trusty Collaborators, Like Producer Jordan Schmidt

The collaborators and songwriters on this project, there's a couple of new ones, but there's a lot of guys that I have a big history with. A lot of that's just due to the fact that if I'm bringing writers out on the road, it's guys that I know and trust, and that I've had success with. I'm not speed dating on the road — it's just very intentional, efficient time.

They've proven themselves, and so there's no reason to not go back to 'em. I just can't reiterate enough how thankful I am to be in this city, in this songwriting community. I have so many people that make me a better songwriter and push me as an artist and come with great ideas. It makes it that much more fun to write songs and do what I love.

Also, to know me, and who I am, and where I'm headed, and what I want to do and say, that helps tremendously because we're not just shooting in the dark. I think "Wish You Would" is a song that's a little unique and feels really fun. If I was going to pick a direction, that's a cool, fresh sound that I'm really enjoying right now.

Leaning Into Feeling Good

I'm in a really sweet season. Not just with the work stuff, but my family is in such a good spot. My kids are 3, 4 and 6, so they're in a really fun, just joyful season. I can have a bad session or a tough day, and I can go home and get overwhelmed with joy and love in the house. It's just awesome energy. I'm really grateful for that, and I'm really kind of leaning into it. 

I hope [fans] understand how grateful I am to be here to be still doing this 13 years later, and to be able to have another opportunity to experience a lot of firsts again, and get to continue to connect with them. I just love what I do, and I gotta give the fans a lot of credit for allowing me to do it. 

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Genia Press Play Hero
Genia (right) performs for Press Play.

Photo: Courtesy of Genia

video

Press Play: Watch Genia Narrate The Pain Of Heartbreak In This Raw Performance Of "Dear Life"

R&B singer Genia offers an acoustic rendition of "Dear Life," one of the singles from her forthcoming mixtape, '4 AM In The Ville,' out April 19 via Def Jam.

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2024 - 05:00 pm

On "Dear Life," R&B singer Genia pens a farewell letter to her lover — while simultaneously reflecting on how the intense saga crumbled her.

"I can't take anymore/ Put my pride aside, thought you could save me," she cries in the first verse. "These days, I don't know what I need/ You destroy me from the inside out/ If I go off the deep end/ You'll be sure not to bring me back."

In this episode of Press Play, watch Genia deliver a stripped-down performance of the vulnerable track alongside her guitarist.

The California native released "Dear Life" on Nov. 10, via Def Jam Recordings. She has also dropped three more singles — "Like That," "Know!," and "Let Me Wander" — leading up to her sophomore mixtape, 4 AM In The Ville, on April 19. 4 AM is a sequel to her debut, 4 PM In The Ville; both projects are inspired by Genia's experience of growing up in Victorville, California.

""[The songs] explore the different stages of grief in a relationship," she revealed in an interview with Urban Magazine. "The second tape is really me touching on falling in love, betrayal, anger, and rape."

Watch the video above to hear Genia's acoustic performance of "Dear Life," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Oliver Anthony performing in 2023
Oliver Anthony performs in Nashville, Tennessee in 2023.

Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

interview

After Viral Fame, Oliver Anthony Bares His Soul With 'Hymnal Of A Troubled Man's Mind': "I Want To Truly Make A Difference"

On the heels of releasing his debut album, Oliver Anthony details how the project parallels his unexpected breakthrough hit, "Rich Men of North Richmond": music that's "as raw, from the heart and sincere as it can be."

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2024 - 06:20 pm

Last August, Oliver Anthony became the quintessential definition of overnight success. His working class anthem "Rich Men North of Richmond" went from viral sensation to history-making hit, helping the singer become the first to top the Billboard Hot 100 without any prior chart history.

But while "Richmond" showcases Anthony's brutally honest songwriting and raw delivery, its message and success are far from what define him. And he's proving just that with his debut album, 'Hymnal Of A Troubled Man's Mind.'

Helmed by Nashville superproducer Dave Cobb, the 18-track collection is rife with stories of addiction, depression, faith, and fury as Anthony documents the decade leading up to his unexpected rise to stardom (it also features eight Bible verses as interludes). A stark departure from "Richmond" in some ways and others not, the album is proof that his viral moment wasn't a fluke. 

One element that remains is Anthony's defiance of adhering to any cookie-cutter artist blueprint, which was further evidenced by the Easter Sunday arrival of Hymnal Of A Troubled Man's Mind. It's one of the many ways Anthony is showing that he's still fiercely independent, and that his unprecedented ascent hasn't changed the man he is or the music he makes.

"My day-to-day life hasn't changed a whole lot other than just not having to wake up for my job every morning," Anthony — who was born Christopher Anthony Lunsford, but pays tribute to his late grandfather with his stage name — admits. "I have this new career, but at the same time I don't know how long I'll be doing this either. At the end of the day I want to truly make a difference, not just play a bunch of shows to make a handful of executives a bunch of money only to get a pat on the back."

On the heels of releasing Hymnal Of A Troubled Man's Mind — and playing a sold-out hometown show — Lunsford spoke with GRAMMY.com about how he's navigating the balance between fame and privacy, and staying true to himself through it all.

Your stage name is your grandfather's name, so he clearly means a lot to you. Can you tell me a bit about the man Oliver Anthony was, and why he inspired you to pay tribute to him in such a way? 

Originally I was using his name as an alias because a lot of the songs I was writing talked about things my employer wouldn't approve of, like smoking pot. It was a way of hiding my identity so they couldn't Google my name and find everything. 

Another reason I did it is because we looked a lot alike. I'm the only redhead in the family other than him, and we're both 6'6" and left-handed. 

He was also just a very down-to-Earth guy. He never was one to talk much and never took the bait on politics and other stuff, he was always very down the middle. He was a hard worker too, taking a job later in life at a chemical plant where he moved up in the ranks despite being mostly self-taught. 

He was a role model of mine in many ways. During his final years, he experienced cognitive decline that made his death more of a slow goodbye. When I started writing all of these songs I was still really grieving his loss.

The full listing of your stage name, at least in the beginning, was Oliver Anthony Music. What was your intention with adding the "Music" part onto it?

The "music" is supposed to capture the timeless era from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to into the late 60's and 70's. I'm not trying to paint it as an ideal time in American history by any means, but it was just a very real time. People weren't just living then, they were surviving. I wanted to capture that era of America before we became reliant on ordering everything from Amazon, going to the grocery store for all our food and depending on people on TV to tell us how to think, where to go or what to do.

That's what Oliver Anthony Music is supposed to encapsulate — that precious time in our history that, in certain parts of the country, still exists. When you go into rural Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and the Carolinas, it almost feels like time is slowed down a bit, almost like they're 20 or 30 years in the past. 

That's why we recorded this album on 1940's microphones inside an old church. We didn't even hire a photographer for the album cover. Instead we used a Polaroid camera that Dave Cobb had sitting in his drawer. This was never intended to have all the flash of modern production. It's supposed to just be as raw, from the heart and sincere as it can be.

Is "Rich Man's Gold" a song about your grandfather and how the circumstances of his upbringing shaped him into the man you remember? 

It also focuses on the contrast between the lifestyle we live now compared to the one we lived not long ago. The main verse in the song talks about how we weren't born to just pay bills and die. The point behind that is so many people today have encapsulated their lives in student loans, credit card debt, financing new vehicles they don't need, and buying big houses as a way of filling a void they'll never be able to fill. 

I think true fulfillment in life comes from basic things we overthink, like love and connection with our family, neighbors and friends, and just living a more purposeful life. A lot of us go to work at a job we don't really like because it pays the bills, even though it falls well outside our passion, leaving us only a couple hours a week to spend doing what we truly love. Then before you know it, you're old and die and that's it, you don't get another shot at it. 

Time is the most precious thing we have, and at any moment we don't really know how much left of it we have. The song really hones in on all that to show how a lot of people are alive, but they're not really living.

How has the overnight success you've experienced changed, or not changed, who you are as a person? 

I've kept a lot of my same friends and would say that my personal life hasn't changed a whole lot. I've still got the same s—ty Suburban with a salvage title and 330,000 miles on it, and the same s—ty clothes — although I have been able to put money into a few investments to set my family up with some financial security. But I've been really careful not to change my life a lot. 

I never, ever want to get to a point in my life where I feel like I'm better than everyone else. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. That's one thing that's been a problem from the beginning because I never wanted to get on Facebook and say "Hey, look at me!" When "Richmond" blew up, I didn't want to post a lot, and instead opted to let things run their course. But due to the monetization of social and online media, people were incentivized to make posts about me since I was a trending topic, with much of it being completely fabricated. 

So it's been a weird balance of figuring out how I can, with good conscience, keep my voice out there without being an attention seeker. It's a weird balance because if I'm not posting and speaking my mind, then somebody else pretending to be me is going to do it instead.

I really just want to use what little discernment I have to make decisions that I'll look back on in 20 or 30 years and feel proud of, and not like somebody strong-armed or pressured me into something that my heart wasn't into.

One of the ways you showed that after going viral was by promoting other amazing Appalachian artists that RadioWV has featured. Who are some Appalachian artists you've been listening to or think deserve a bigger platform for their music?

To be honest, what I listen to is pretty limited and is mostly made up of people who are dead. I mainly discover new music through YouTube videos — I don't have Spotify, Pandora or anything like that. I've had the chance to meet and talk with folks like Logan Halstead, and am a big fan of his work, though. 

It drives my wife absolutely crazy, but anytime we're in the truck together and I've got control of the dial I'm putting on Hank Jr., Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lightnin' Hopkins and random stuff like Cuban dance music. I like listening to a lot of old material and folk music from other countries. It just feels more real, and nobody is trying to shove it down my throat. 

At least when I'm listening to somebody who's dead, I know that they didn't manipulate me to somehow stumble across it like how so much is today with algorithms and pay-to-play. That's also what was so cool about "Richmond," because it blew up in such an organic way with no record label or management pushing it. 

Getting back to your original question about Appalachian artists, there's so many people from the region that would blow the doors off anyone on country radio right now, that most people may never actually get to enjoy because they simply aren't getting the exposure. I'd love to see things go back to the days of good music being played and bad music doesn't rather than it all being about how much money you've got behind the song.

You previously hinted at getting into ministry in the future, and this new album of yours is littered with Bible verses. With that in mind, what does your foundation in faith mean not only to your music, but who you are as a person? 

Leading up to everything that's happened, it's obvious from listening to my music that I was severely depressed and dealing with regular suicidal thoughts and anxiety attacks. Every part of my life, from my career to my marriage, my family and my future seemed very grim. I was in a bad place leaning on alcohol, like a lot of adult men do, because they have a tough time opening up about their struggles. 

At some point I got in touch with Draven Riffe from RadioWV and made plans to record a few songs on my property the following weekend. We got to talking about the personal issues going on in both our lives and how we'd both just decided to give our lives to God. I felt like I didn't have anything left in me, so I just told God that I've done things this long by myself and haven't been able to figure anything out, so please guide me where to go and show me what to do. 

I ended up recording seven songs with Draven that weekend, but the most special moment definitely came on "Richmond." As soon as we finished recording, I looked up at him, and we locked eyes. After a moment he said, "I know we just met and I don't want you to think I'm crazy, but I swear I could feel the presence of God with us when we recorded that." 

The song ended up doing what it did, but the icing on the cake came months later during my first show after going viral at the farmer's market where over 12,000, including Jamey Johnson, showed up. I talked with him afterward and he told me he had been off songwriting but that God spoke to him and told him he needed to meet me that day. To have one of my favorite artists of all-time show up at my first gig because God told him to after everything I'd been through, it became so clear to me that I was doing what I was meant to. 

A lot of people joke that they sell their souls to the devil, but in my case I truly feel like I've signed my soul to God. He put me here to give me purpose because my life had been without it up until then. 

I don't know that I'd even call myself a Christian, but I definitely believe in Jesus Christ and find a lot of wisdom in the timeless knowledge of The Bible. There's parts of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Matthew — all of which have excerpts on the record — that are full of practical advice on living, whether it's with marriage or finances, lust or alcoholism, or even how to interact with your neighbor. That advice written many years ago is still so relevant in today's society even though most things are totally different. 

My first time in a church in 10 years was for our Easter show the other day, so I'm definitely not the church-going devout religious kind of person. I just got to a point in my life where I didn't have any other choice than to let God take control of things. You can see just how much change has happened since then — it's undeniable.

Aside from ministry, is there anything else you want to pursue with your newfound platform?

Our family just bought this old farm that was operational until a couple years ago. We're in the process now of getting it going again. Once it's operational we want to start educating the public and maybe bringing people out for workshops on gardening and other homesteading basics. 

I also want to partner with other people in that space, like Joel Salatin, or some of these YouTubers that are getting people excited about gardening on only a quarter-acre in their backyards. It tastes better than anything you can buy — even at a high-end grocery store — and can be done for little to nothing. It's so rewarding to do and something I hope to repopularize as part of this whole thing.

It sounds like you're really trying to practice what you preach in terms of what you sing about and how you embody that spirit in everything you do.

Music and my whole life in general is just trying to hold on to that beautiful, raw, less glorified and flashy way of living that's still readily available in this country. There's so much noise and everything moves so quick now that it's hard to slow your brain down enough to get excited about gardening, being outdoors and clearing the land or raising livestock. There is no instant gratification to that, it's a process. 

If you get on YouTube and scroll through 100 Shorts your mind will start going a million miles per hour, which makes it hard to want to slow down to clean up after some stupid cow afterward. It makes it very hard to integrate the two things together into how we live today. 

What has making this music taught you about yourself? 

One thing I've learned is that if I want to try to have good mental health and be a normal functioning member of society, I've got to create music. In the same way that some people use a journal to write out their thoughts, songwriting is how I'm able to get my feelings and perceptions out of my own head. When life is going really well, it's harder for me to write songs because usually my motivation stems from things going wrong. I could probably write some catchy lyrics, but they wouldn't mean anything to me. 

Everything I write about I feel deep down inside, which can also be said about some of my favorite songs. That's the beauty of music — writing it as a way to clear your head and listening to it to remind you that you're not alone.

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The Black Keys
The Black Keys

Photo: Larry Niehues

list

11 Black Keys Songs To Know With New Album 'Ohio Players': From "I Got Mine" To "Beautiful People (Stay High)"

The Black Keys' discography is chock full of smooth, yet deliciously grungy top-down jams. With their new album, 'Ohio Players,' out now, press play on 11 essential songs by the four-time GRAMMY winners.

GRAMMYs/Apr 5, 2024 - 04:20 pm

Two guys can sure make a lot of noise. That's the throughline when it comes to Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's brotherhood in their long-running indie-garage-blues band the Black Keys — but that noise doesn't just come from their lungs and hands.

Sometimes, they're channeling the gut-bucket sound of hill country blues, like on their 2021 covers album Delta Kream. Other times, that noise has been refracted through the lens of outside producer Danger Mouse.

And on their new album, Ohio Players — out today — the once-musically insular Auerbach and Carney have opened up that noise to collaborators, like Noel Gallagher, Dan "the Automator" Nakamura, superproducer Greg Kurstin, and most prominently, Beck. (He co-wrote seven songs on the album; he sings lead on "Paper Crown," which also features Juicy J of Three Six Mafia.)

"We had this epiphany: 'We can call our friends to help us make music,'" Carney said in a statement — adding that this is especially rich, given they always co-write with others. "What we wanted to accomplish with this record was make something that was fun. And something that most bands 20 years into their career don't make, which is an approachable, fun record that is also cool."

As a ramp-up to Ohio Players, take a spin through 11 great songs from the four-time GRAMMY winners and 13-time nominees' catalog — whether you're a newbie or a longtime player.

"Girl is On My Mind" (Rubber Factory, 2004)

If you've heard the Black Keys' breakout hits like "Tighten Up," but prefer their sound a little rawer, all their early, pre-Attack and Release records should vibe with you. "Girl is On My Mind" has all their hallmarks — a sexy crawl, controlled-demolition drums, an abundant lo-fi buzz.

"I Got Mine" (Attack & Release, 2008)

Attack and Release is an album of two important Keys firsts: their first in a professional studio, and their first with Danger Mouse. With said six-time GRAMMY winner and 22-time nominee at the helm, their sound gains depth and resonance — yet remains gloriously stripped down.

"Tighten Up" (Brothers, 2010)

This is where the Black Keys zoomed up to the top, and the tired "car commercial rock" criticisms really got rolling. (Maybe so, but they do it better than anyone.) When Carney's four-on-the-floor rhythms collide with Auerbach's effortless melodic gifts, magic transpires.

"Howlin' For You" (Brothers)

The Keys' discography is something of one uninterrupted, glorious buzz — but at this point, they were teasing new colors out of it left and right. The fuzzy, buzzy "Howlin' For You" represents the flipside of Brothers — a more finicky, angular and wired feel.

"Lonely Boy" (El Camino, 2011)

After the smash success of Brothers, Auerbach and Carney returned with the even more brazen and brassy El Camino — a direct shot of Keysiness to the arm. "Am I born to bleed?

Any old time, you keep me waitin'," Auerbach pleads in this rollicking, uptempo favorite.

"Gold on the Ceiling" (El Camino, 2011)

Ain't it wild that for a decade, there were equal and opposite rock acts called the Black Keys and the White Stripes? While both have always been loath to be lumped in with each other — Auerbach and White have a history of bad blood — "Gold on the Ceiling" shows that Auerbach's serrated fuzz could occasionally rip a hole in the firmament, much like his sometime rival.

"Fever" (Turn Blue, 2014)

After the rush of riotous success surrounding Brothers and El Camino, Auerbach and Carney took a two-year cooldown to produce for other artists. The album they made upon their return was moodier and more midtempo: "Fever" is one laser-focused example of this approach.

"Lo/Hi" (Let's Rock, 2019)

As they approached 20 years as a band, the Black Keys relaxed into their own skin with Let's Rock, a happily middle-of-the-road offering with idiosyncratic charm galore. (The title is a reference to convicted murderer Edmund Zagorski's last words before getting the chair.) "Lo/Hi" is a deep, satisfying rumble from the core of their well-explored aural aesthetic.

"Shine a Little Light" (Let's Rock, 2019)

This equally appealing Let's Rock cut is commensurately dreamy and guttural, showing off their still-sharp dynamics over a gospel-like heft.

"Wild Child" (Dropout Boogie, 2022)

Dropout Boogie isn't altogether different from its predecessor — again, this is the Black Keys, and it's all a continuum. But the choruses are even sharper — and the underdog video, where Auerbach and Carney get verbally torn apart by public school staff, is just as memorable.

"Beautiful People (Stay High)" (Ohio Players, 2024)

A sizable leap forward from the already very good Let's Rock and Dropout Boogie, Ohio Players shows not only their range more than two decades in, but their chemistry with their old friends.

And it's all boiled into "Beautiful People (Stay High)" — which, admittedly, leans on something on a shopworn lyrical trope about getting high and never coming down. But it's impossible to quibble with that when that indelible chorus shakes the cheap seats.

It serves as a reminder that the Black Keys draw from a universal canon of blues, rock, psychedelia and much more — and it's less what they say than how they say it.

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