The Black Keys: Top Picks

The Black Keys have defined an entire generation of rock music. They’re easily one of the best bands to emerge from the early 2000s. In honor of their new rerelease of “Brothers,” I decided to highlight my all-time favorite tracks from the duo. With ten albums out, it’s hard to know where to start listening if you’re new to them. Here are my top song picks to get ya goin’!

1. Next Girl – Brothers (2010)

In my opinion, “Brothers” is The Black Keys’ best album. Even though “Howlin’ For You” and “Everlasting Light” tend to get the most attention from their 2010 release, “Next Girl” is my personal favorite. Dan Auerbach’s guitar skills are unmatched on this track of bluesy goodness.

2. Turn Blue – Turn Blue (2014)

This album leans in a psychedelic direction more than any of their others, but it’s still heavily twinged with their classic garage sound. “Turn Blue” (the song) has an atmosphere to it that’s truly amazing. Highly recommend listening on FULL VOLUME.

3. Thickfreakness – Thickfreakness (2003)

“Thickfreakness” is The Black Keys’ most underrated album. The song christened after its title is equally as such. Sludgy, heavy, and fuzzy, “Thickfreakness” is a staple of Auerbach’s supreme sliding skills.

4. Lonely Boy – El Camino (2011)

“Lonely Boy” is easily their most popular song, but you can’t help but love it. “El Camino” is quite different from their previous albums, straying into a more cheery sound. Patrick Carney’s rhythm artistry is on full display throughout the upbeat track.

5. Money Maker – El Camino (2011)

There’s just nothing bad about this song. Every moment is so good, from the chorus to the hook to Auerbach’s hypnotic voice. Though it comes from “El Camino,” “Money Maker” echoes the darkness of their other albums.

6. Have Mercy On Me – Chulahoma (2006)

I heard this song for the first time pretty recently, and I immediately fell in love. “Chulahoma” is actually a cover album, filled with remakes of Junior Kimbrough’s blues songs. The passion in this album is so tangible, even though it has less of The Black Keys’ signature garage fuzz.

7. Strange Desire – Magic Potion (2006)

The entire “Magic Potion” album has a very homemade, organic quality to it, but it’s great nonetheless. The riff in “Strange Desire” is just to die for. I love how they switch tempos throughout the track, making it a rollercoaster of a song.

8. Busted – The Big Come Up (2002)

“Busted” is the first song off their first full-length album. It’s a fantastic testament to their roots as a true garage-blues band. “The Big Come Up” sounds like something out of the early ’70s rather than 2002, having an almost Led Zeppelin-like quality to it.

By toad maiden

A little Butter makes everything better. Part-time WKNC content manager and graphic designer, full-time sludgy surf rock funk master metalhead. Get in touch with ya suggestions n' such at