I walked to my car last night in the clear night air. Not a cloud to be seen, the temperature a perfect 67 degrees. I hopped in the car, turned on the ignition, rolled all the windows down, and popped in a CD.
Remember back in high school when you had those one or two CDs that you would listen to over and over while locked in your bedroom, all the lights off, and your headphones turned all the way up? My CDs were Machina/The Machines of God by Smashing Pumpkins and There Is Nothing Left to Lose by the Foo Fighters.
I could get completely lost in those albums. I memorized guitar riffs, piano solos, drum beats. I listened to them over and over and over again trying to find meaning in my crazy high school life. Even today, when I hear a certain song from Machina (“Raindrops + Sunshowers”) I’m transported back to German class junior year. We had a sub that day who thought the best way to teach us was to show us a morbidly long slideshow about her trip to Germany. I slipped my headphones on and tuned out. The opening snare beats in “Stacked Actors” on There is Nothing Left to Lose brings me back to the weekends I would take one of my parents’ cars, roll the windows down, turn the tunes up, and just drive.
Since then I have been hard pressed to find an album like those. One that can reach deep inside me and move me in a way no other collection of songs can.
After buying a laptop and TV from Best Buy in the last few months, we’d amassed $40 in Best Buy rewards. Knowing I wanted to increase my CD collection, I took my moneys and bought two Black Keys albums (Thickfreakness and El Camino), Making Mirrors by Gotye, and Foster the People’s Torches. The two non-Black Keys albums are good, yes. They are perfect for long car trips and you just need something to zone out to.
But the Black Keys? Oh my. Oh my, my, my.
I loved hearing their songs on the radio, but never actually got around to buying any of their albums. Then one day, listening to Black Keys Radio on Pandora, I heard the title track from Thickfreakness. It was amazing. I heard bits of Led Zepplin, Ted Nugent, Lynard Skynard, and some classic blues. I had to have that album.
So last night, on that perfect evening, I put Thickfreakness into the CD player. I maxed out the volume. I let the music surround me and reach deep into my soul. The soulful, blue-sy sound those boys make is simply amazing. It is pure, unadulterated rock and roll. There’s no fancy mixing, auto-tune, or anything. Just a couple guys, their instruments, their voices, and their souls.
I could listen to that album over and over and over again. El Camino is just as good, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about Thickfreakness that I just can’t get enough of. There isn’t a single song (on either album, really) that I don’t like.
I’m just sorry it took me this long to own a single album of theirs. And I will be purchasing their other five albums.
What albums have the same affect on you that you could listen to over and over and over and never get sick of?
(And if you say Adele I will punch you square in the mouth. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about her that I cannot stand. At. All.)
PS – I used affiliate links, but I’ve never EVER had anyone buy anything from them. I haven’t made a CENT off of them. So there.