The aptly dubbed neo-blues duo The Black Keys have made a name for themselves by giving an old and hallowed genre a fresh sheen. Since forming in 2001, the hard-touring band have won a handful of Grammys and a large and fervent fan base. Their most critically successful album, Brothers, is loaded with bold, plangent rock that refers to a range of influences—like Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones—and somehow also to none at all. Towards the end of the record, the standout ballad “These Days” reminds us that the blues is nothing without real pain to inspire it. Guitarist Dan Auerbach sings:
These blood red eyes
Don’t see so good
But what’s worse is if they could
Could I change my ways?