This New Black Keys Song Is the Band at Its Multitextured Best

Slate's Culture Blog
May 1 2014 12:31 PM

The Black Keys Debut an Excellent New Song, “Bullet in the Brain”

The Blacks Keys
Patrick Carney (left) and Dan Auerbach (right) making magic in the studio.

Photo via Facebook/Reid Long

In a couple of weeks, blues-rock duo The Black Keys will release their eighth album, Turn Blue. To date, we’ve heard two of its songs, the dizzying “Fever” and the melancholy title track, “Turn Blue.” But their latest song, “Bullet in the Brain,” debuted live for Zane Lowe’s Maida Vale sessions, is the best yet. And it continues the shift in tone for the Keys, who for the most part are associated with upbeat, hip-shaking tracks.

It opens on a sobering note with a light guitar riff over which Dan Auerbach emotionally croons, “Bullet in my brain/ I prefer them to remain the same.” From there, the song picks up momentum, evolving into a rollercoaster of synths, piano, and, best of all, Patrick Carney’s massive drums. It’s the kind of multi-textured work the Keys have mastered.

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The band have also released a video for “Fever,” which sees Dan Auerbach as a preacher leading some sort of church revival filmed like a low-budget infomercial. For a song all about trying to find an escape from life’s demons, it makes perfect sense.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.