"Keep It Hid" by Dan Auerbach

Dan Auerbach
Keep It Hid

Nonesuch
2009

Review

We sometimes forget how much Rock and Roll is rooted in the Blues. Dan Auerbach is here to remind us.

I am a huge fan of The Black Keys, so when I saw that Dan Auerbach had a solo record out I ran out to pick it up. After listening to it I have to say that it is hard to decide how much Danger Mouse influenced The Black Keys or if it was in fact The Black Keys who influenced Danger Mouse. The Black Keys are responsible for what I consider to be the best album that was released in 2008 (Attack and Release). There can be little doubt that Danger Mouse gave the group a bit of a push on that album and as one reviewer that I cannot recall at the moment (maybe it was in Rolling Stone?) said, DM made them sound like a band whereas maybe they sounded a bit more like 2 guys playing the Blues before. While I definitely think that that statement simplifies things a bit much The Black Keys definitely produced an album unlike any of the ones that they had created before. On this solo effort, Dan Auerbach continues to display elements of the growth that he showed on that album but it has been distilled to its very essence and the bombastic funkiness of Danger Mouse's influence has been replaced with the Bluesy undertones from which those sounds were springboarded off of.

For some fans of Rock music, I worry a bit that this album will be considered a bit too bluesy. But for those fans out there who are familiar with the roots of rock, this album will be a real treat. After the slow opener "Trouble Weighs a Ton", we are treated to the excellent "I Want Some More". The best way for me to describe this song is to say that it is a Rock and Roll porno song (even the organs sound horny) and Dan is oozing playful sexuality with lines like:

You got the kiss I've been searching for
Oh I want some more
You've got sweet lips like I've never tasted before
Oh I want some more

The album wears its Blues influences on its sleeve, but yet somehow manages to sound different from a straight-up Black Keys album. There's a slightly more Rock feel to the album that shares more with "Attack and Release" than with other Black Keys records. Lyrically we are still in full on Blues territory though with lines like God may forgive me but that's not enough. I have to live with myself until I'm done from "Heartbroken, In Disrepair" or Are* your words pretty lies like they tell you before you die* from "Whispered Words Pretty Lies", or the choice She left a year ago with my record collection now all I have is my own reflection from "When I Left The Room". However, there is a real playfulness to the music that I find missing from a more traditional "hard", Blues record.

Dan is responsible for nearly all the arrangements on the album and the guitar work is outstanding. Probably the best example of this comes on the "badass mofo theme music" of "The Prowl". In fact, "cool" is a choice way to describe this album. There are moments here when I thought to myself, "I wonder when one of these songs will end up in Quentin Tarantino movie? (particularly, "Mean Monsoon")".

I think it's a shame that the name Dan Auerbach probably doesn't ring many bells. But give this album a listen if you like your Rock with a bit of the Blues and hopefully we can change that one pair of ears at time.

4.462 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Trouble Weighs a Ton (02:19) 3
2. I Want Some More (03:49) 5
3. Heartbroken, in Disrepair (03:21) 5
4. Because I Should (00:53)
5. Whispered Words (Pretty Lies) (04:06) 5
6. Real Desire (04:26) 4
7. When the Night Comes (04:11) 4
8. Mean Monsoon (03:47) 5
9. The Prowl (03:18) 5
10. Keep It Hid (03:41) 5
11. My Last Mistake (03:14) 4
12. When I Left the Room (04:02) 5
13. Street Walkin' (04:39) 5
14. Goin' Home (04:57) 3