Black Keys vs White Stripes

So I wasn’t really following the ongoing feud that Jack White seems to be pursuing with the Black Keys.  Jack apparently hates them.

Jack White DETESTS The Black Keys — in particular BK singer Dan Auerbach — and the confession was made in the middle of Jack’s very nasty divorce.

Jack is clearly pissed his kids are being enrolled in the same school as Dan’s kid, writing, “My concern with Auerbach is because I don’t want the kids involved in any of that crap … That’s a possible twelve f***ing years I’m going to have to be sitting in kids chairs next to that a**hole with other people trying to lump us in together.”

That’s my emphasis on the last line there.  But let’s be real, these two bands are going to be forever lumped together.  There are two famous two-piece blues outfits ever, and they both became famous right around the same time.  They don’t sound that much alike except in the sense that they were both led by blues purists and they both had lousy drummers.  But like Prince and Michael Jackson, or Biggie and Tupac, or Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, they are stuck with each other.  For what it’s worth, the Black Keys don’t seem to be all that upset about it.  Their response to him was pretty mild:

“I actually feel embarassed for him,” Carney tells RS writer Patrick Doyle. “I don’t hold grudges, man. I really don’t. We’ve all said fucked-up shit in private, and divorce is hard.”

For his part, Auerbach refused to enter the fray – “I don’t know him, so it’s extra-unexpected,” was the extent of his take

But to me where they differ has always been what’s interesting.  Jack White always seemed like the quintessential hipster- color coordinating everything up to and including their roadies outfit, giving weird, cryptic interviews.  Having strange obsessions. Intentionally hiring a borderline pointless drummer

Hipster stuff.

The Black Keys just looked like schlubs:

That’s about the most unfashionable album cover ever.

But it was a great album.  White Stripes were the cool kids I would want to be, while Black Keys were a lot closer to what musicians like me really am.  Just some people playing music.  There are awesome things about both- what we aspire to be, and what we can admire but never really hope to be.

I took these two songs from the two albums that, to me, were the ones that put both bands into the realm of important.  That’s a totally subjective estimation, but I remember when Elephant (White Stripes) and Rubber Factory (Black Keys) came out and listening to both extensively over the following months.  Both were high points for them- White Stripes never really came out with anything quite that good again, and Black Keys became a different band.

That’s maybe the other difference- Black Keys really did evolve from a band that was explicitly trying to sound vintage to a band that, after ten years, sounds like today.

This isn’t the best song they’ve done, but it sounds like something a new band would make right now.  And maybe that’s because radio caught up with bands like the White Stripes, Black Keys, the Strokes, all those early 00’s bands that were doing garage rock.

Jack White’s music, just sounds a Jack White.  It’s good, but he starting to sound a little frozen in time.  Maybe he wants it that way.

You know what’s totally messed up?  I found this video on Youtube and the ad that ran before the music started?  An ad for the Black Keys’ tour.


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