American blues rock duo The Black Keys have always been a bit of a breath of fresh air in a world of music dominated by Rihanna, Lady Gaga and rubbish boy bands; and since the massive success of their sixth album Brothers, which reached number three in the US last year, hopes were high for the first new material from the band’s forthcoming album El Camino.
‘Lonely Boy’ is built around a simple, funky, distorted guitar riff in E (the go-to key for blues musicians) and euphoric vocals from frontman Dan Auerbach, with impressive stomping drums courtesy of sticksman Patrick Carney. The song details the narrator’s frustration with a love who “Keeps [him]waiting”, which makes him feel — quite simply — that he is a “Lonely boy”. The lyrics sound quite reflective, and detail intimate personal details about said “love”, but the song remains upbeat and swagger-filled (in the meaning of the word before it was ruined) in light of such subject matter.
Of particular note is the music video for the song (below), featuring charming actor Derrick T. Tuggle (who may also have just about the greatest name ever). The video has the most basic of concepts — Tuggle simply stands in a hotel lobby dancing to the song, cheekily acting out the lyrics of the song throughout. Along with the retro single artwork (above), ‘Lonely Boy’ is really a harkback to the 60s and 70s hard rock provided by such legendary groups as Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer and The Jimi Hendrix Experience — so no change in The Black Keys ethos.
‘Lonely Boy’ is just a feel-good song, to be honest. It has a great riff, some brilliant vocal backings and harmonies, and a really simple chorus. A retro-sounding gem which acts merely as further proof that The Black Keys are one of the coolest rock bands around today.