Track Review: The Black Keys – Going Down South

Jack Daniels, smoky bars and confederate flags. If these words conjure up images of the Deep South, the new number from The Black Keys encapsulates the sounds of the southern states.

Bluesy bars treated by slouching slide soloing, Going Down South is the type of song The Black Keys do very well. Dan Auerbach’s flare for falsetto pairs nicely with these classic blues-themed lyrics like bourbon and Marlboro Reds.

Although more refined and perhaps less impactful than the taut and twangy RL Burnside original, The Black Keys modernise this classic with aplomb. A classic track it is not. A stylish number it is. Don’t be surprised if Going Down South rears its head in adverts and movies in the years to follow.

If Going Down South were to make The Black Keys’ set list, it would work perfectly as a grooving opener, played before the Ohio outfit rip into a more upbeat classic from their substantial catalogue.


Categorized as rock

Track Review: Machine Gun Kelly – Love Race

The hip-hop remains on hiatus. The pop punk pretence proceeds. Hip hop? pop punk? MGK is fast becoming the Jack of all trades, master of none.

Consistent with the tracks of MGK’s previous LP, love race is an angsty, three minute pop punk effort. However, if this ditty is anything to go by, the next LP release will be largely ignored. On paper, love race has the blueprint of a punk pop classic but it has too many architectural flaws.

The track acts as a reminder that MGK is no singer. His punchy annunciation works flawlessly for biting verses, but his lifeless singing voice – reminiscent of a teenager with newly-dropped balls – is at best, dull. Who wants to listen to a singer who can’t sing?
Not blessed with refined vocal chords, MGK – or rather his management – recognises that his singing efforts work best when augmented by an artist of higher register. Kellin Quinn’s interesting addition add intrigue to what is otherwise an instantly forgettable pop punk song. Even with Quinn’s vocals, the song is not a scratch on MGK’s commendable 2019 collaboration with Yungblud.

When hearing the opening guitar tones, not even the meanest of men would blame you for unwittingly mistaking the track for blink 182. But the fact remains, blink 182 – and countless others – do this better; they are the Goliath to MGK’s David.

If you’re looking for a three minute, half-catchy, get-up-and-go jam, this might sit nicely in the dark depths of your pop punk playlist.


Categorized as pop punk

Album Review: Weezer – Van Weezer

Double the decibels! Weezer’s new half-hour album, Van Weezer, should come with a warning – “Must Play Loud!”

Weezer are a divisive band. Even within the ranks of the Weezer faithful, their albums persistently polarise – think Blue Album vs Pinkerton vs Green Album. How frustrating must this be for the Weezer fan?! However, common ground can be found amongst all. Everyone can probably agree that Make Believe was largely full of tasteless tracks for the stupid. Similarly, there will be very few who can deny the vitality of Van Weezer.

Weezer have been an industrious band over the past five years, with some victories but also some awards for just taking part. However, Van Weezer is a strong reminder that the Los Angeles losers can still rock.

Treated with taut riffing from the outset, opener Hero brings listeners back to what made Weezer great. Hard humbucking guitars and anthemic choruses, juxtaposed against unashamedly naive and self-deprecating yet hopeful lyrical themes are the order of the day. And, just for good measure, Hero’s offering of sultry metal shredding, suitably and tastefully mimics their own guitar heroes in this turn-it-up-to-eleven introduction.

Track two, All The Good Ones, is what Beverly Hills should have been. The comparison is instantaneous but the execution is immeasurable; Beverly Hills is the Aldi to All of the good ones’ Fortnum and Mason – with the latter literally eating and digesting the former. Weezer’s ode to rockers of the past is an instant classic.

At the midpoint, there’s some serious mental mayhem with Blue Dream. It’s clever. Very Clever. Starting with the instantly recognisable riff of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy train, then morphing into a truly memorable Weezer classic. Rivers Cuomo’s despair and desperation love lyrics are amplified by the punchy downstrokes of the chorus – haunting and beautiful in equal measure. A definite highlight of the album.

There are, however, some numbers of less note towards the end of the album. She Needs Me is a futile filler. Although its lyrics are warm and comforting, it feels juvenile; despite the middle-aged themes, it sounds like a 14-year-old’s first attempt at a love song.

To close the album, Precious metal girl – a classic cute Cuomo acoustic – provides a strange reprieve from the pleasurable ear bashing; however, it’s very oddly placed when considering the musical context of the rest of the album. One could be forgiven for guessing the band were thinking at this point, “how can we end this album?”

Nostalgia or not, Van Weezer is never going to outclass the likes of the Blue Album. Regardless, this is possibly the best example of the modern-day Weezer sound.


Skip to: Blue Dream