By Jack Sharkey, September 5, 2017
Front to Back Album Review: Dan Auerbach - Waiting On A Song
- Released: June 2, 2017
- Label: Easy Eye Sound / Nonesuch
- Producers: Dan Auerbach, David Ferguson
Four out of Five Play Buttons
It’s a common saw that difficult times produce memorable (if not always great) art and music. With that in mind, Dan Auerbach’s Waiting On A Song is an album for the times. It might not be a great album – only time dictates greatness – but it is a fun and accessible album and I’m not sure what else we should expect. Think modern Americana without all the moping. Unfortunately, people who are far more intellectual than me will find fault with this album’s light mood, as if happy is a bad thing, but I say, Who wants to be bummed out all the time? So, for those of you unafraid of a good mood, add this album to your music rotation.
If you’re expecting a Black Keys record, close but no cigar. Steeped in mid-Seventies soul and mid-Twenty-teen Nashville hip, it’s got shades of the Keys, but Auerbach has taken it all one step further. The title track, Livin’ in Sin and Shine On Me are all bright and breezy pop tunes that don’t require a lot from the listener. But don’t pass them off as throwaway junk food tunes – they’re not, they’re just simple and fun, without pretense. In fact, the best way to describe this entire album is without pretense. Malibu Man has got a serious Al Green vibe, while King Of A One Horse Town evokes the strings of Barry White, but we’re talking influence here, not an exercise in lame copycatting – the songs are all contemporary, with just a dash of throwback flavor.
By far, my favorite track of the set is Cherry Bomb. The poly-rhythms, vaguely Middle-Eastern flair and arrangement seriously stood out to me, making this the highlight of the set.
Never In My Wildest Dreams and Undertow aren’t bad songs, but they just don’t hold up to the quality and fun of the rest of the set.
The mix is thick without being muddled, and listening on 44.1k/16-bit FLAC I was completely satisfied with what I was hearing. Auerbach doesn’t so much sing as he kind of just whispers his lyrics so don’t expect any vocal theatrics (consider this a nice respite from everything else), there aren’t any flaming guitar leads or massive vocal arrangements – it’s all very stripped down and restrained. Waiting On A Song is kind of a perfect album of joy in a time when being joyful is considered the height of uncool. But I say, the heck with current conventional moodiness – turn this record up and enjoy it un-ironically and without worrying about what your uber-hip friends are going to say about you.
Listened via TIDAL streaming on LS50W using pre-release LS50W ROON.