• Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: May 13, 2014
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
Buy On
  1. 100
    There’s an ever-expanding diversity of appeal to Turn Blue that should win new fans and please the faithful.
  2. May 12, 2014
    90
    This is another step along that path of evolution destined to appear on end of year best album lists, and (ducks from those crazed blues-starved fans of old) it’s quite possibly The Black Keys’ own best ever long player.
  3. May 5, 2014
    90
    Turn Blue is a genuine turning point--into a decisively original rock, with a deeper shade of blues.
  4. 83
    El Camino was the sound of The Black Keys flexing their muscles as they reached for that sword, but Turn Blue is the sound of The Black Keys baring their soul and testing the parameters.
  5. 83
    Turn Blue, though, is the sound of Auerbach and Carney eagerly and grandiosely taking things into their own (and, if you want, Burton’s) hands.
  6. 83
    It's meticulously executed but slightly (and sleepily) monochromatic.
  7. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 18, 2014
    80
    For diehard fans and the inevitable new army of converts, however, this blue period is one to marvel at. [Jul 2014, p.94]
  8. Q Magazine
    May 20, 2014
    80
    Auerbach and Carney don't tear up their blueprint, but tripping out their sound suits them. [Jun 2014, p.102]
  9. May 16, 2014
    80
    This may be the most raucously uplifting divorce album ever heard.
  10. Turn Blue may not rock as resoundingly as past works, but the added soul in Auerbach’s vocals, and the extra beauty of the tunes, give the album a slow-burn warmth.
  11. May 12, 2014
    80
    It’s surer and more satisfying than either of those previous albums [El Camino and Brothers], and seems less labored.
  12. May 12, 2014
    80
    There's still a two-man garage band in there, but Auerbach and Patrick Carney are currently catering to earbuds rather than stadiums.
  13. May 12, 2014
    80
    The Black Keys' eighth long player isn't loaded with obvious hits, and that's more than okay--because this is a brave, varied and engaging collection of songs.
  14. May 12, 2014
    80
    Songs stretch out longer here than they have on any previous Black Keys LP, but this doesn't feel indulgent due to the precision of the production; things may seem to drift but every bit of fuzz and echo is in its right place.
  15. Turn Blue’s stealth seduction suggests this much: their wrong-footing instincts should keep them on the right track.
  16. May 8, 2014
    80
    For all its musical diversity, Turn Blue never sounds incoherent.
  17. Uncut
    Apr 28, 2014
    80
    If El Camino was the Keys' catchiest album. Turn Blue turns out to be their sneakiest, subtlest and most seductive. [Jun 2014, p.65]
  18. Apr 28, 2014
    80
    Turn Blue is pure searing sexiness, hotter than a Nashville afternoon. Their best yet.
  19. May 13, 2014
    75
    As good as they are stepping into that spotlight, it’s hard not to wish they’d plumb the darkness even further.
  20. May 12, 2014
    75
    Over seven increasingly ambitious albums, they refined the approach, and Turn Blue contains their most atmospheric and somber music yet.
  21. May 16, 2014
    70
    Many will look for the moment when they can declare that the group has officially “sold out” or has become so entrenched in success than they no longer try anything new. This album shows neither of these characteristic and although far from a perfect album, the Black Keys have successfully added to their already impressive album with another solid record.
  22. 70
    Turn Blue is the most masterful representation to date of the duo’s successful transformation from lost-in-the-milieu garage rockers to game-changing, widely appealing songwriters.
  23. May 14, 2014
    70
    At 11 tracks, Turn Blue doesn't quite fall prey to the late-album bloat of Brothers, but it is still one song too long.
  24. May 13, 2014
    70
    If you were hankering for a return to their garage-rock roots, then Turn Blue is going to disappoint; however, if you’ve liked where the band have gone since Dangermouse came on board, you’ll find plenty to appreciate here.
  25. May 9, 2014
    70
    It all sounds great, but the songs don't sink in, don't push past the surface.
  26. Jun 19, 2014
    67
    Turn Blue pivots on such low-stakes grooves, the same ones sold so effectively to the mainstream. You could do a lot worse, but that of course is both a blessing and curse.
  27. Jun 17, 2014
    65
    It tries hard enough to break away from their mold, and even if it doesn't quite nail what they were going for, it rejuvenates The Black Keys enough to warrant a few repeated listenings.
  28. May 29, 2014
    60
    On Turn Blue you can tell the duo remain integral and solidly at the core, new influences or not.
  29. Mojo
    May 15, 2014
    60
    With its Magic Fly synthetic hustle, single Fever pulses with the same reductive pop genius, but doubtless deterred by the laws of diminishing returns the Keys have eschewed ab blanket reiteration--with mixed results. [Jun 2014, p.91]
  30. May 14, 2014
    60
    It's not White Blood Cells or Icky Thump, but at least they no longer sound like they're producing records in a Black Keys factory.
  31. 60
    There’s a lot to like about Turn Blue, but it’s a cruel irony that the heaviest hand in Dan Auerbach’s warts-and-all confessional sometimes seems to belong to his producer.
  32. May 12, 2014
    60
    Turn Blue is less immediate than its predecessor, more sprawling and--according to the band--designed to be savoured in headphones.
  33. May 12, 2014
    60
    Much like that fancy sports car, Turn Blue is big, bombastic and very well made. Just, at points, a teensy bit ostentatious.
  34. May 13, 2014
    58
    Throughout Turn Blue, it's difficult to tell how invested these guys actually are in the music they're making, an indifferent attitude that encourages the listener to act in tandem.
  35. Magnet
    Jun 18, 2014
    50
    Turn Blue is a soft pack of post-coital smokes, and Marlboro Lights 100's at that. [No. 110, p.51]
  36. This record is guaranteed to indiscriminately piss off both kinds of Black Keys fans: the diehard purists yearning for the blues rock halcyon days and the recent devotees primed for another round of hooky singles.
  37. May 13, 2014
    42
    Feelings are always “heavy” or a “burden,” and love is consistently “dark” or “light”; it’s thematic territory that feels stale for the band, and the result is an album that aspires to talk about the complex nature of relationships, yet has nothing meaningful to say.
  38. May 13, 2014
    40
    The best tunes are the first and last in “Weight of Love” (where Auerbach unleashes a two-minute guitar solo of vintage psychedelia) and the Stones-like punch of “Gotta Get Away.” Otherwise, most songs merely drift away.
  39. May 13, 2014
    37
    A pronounced feeling of descent pervades Turn Blue.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 188 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 188
  1. May 13, 2014
    10
    THIS ALBUM IS GOD. I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BEING ONE OF THE EARLY CHOSEN FEW THINGS TO LISTEN TO THIS THING. AND. IT. IS. GUD. In allTHIS ALBUM IS GOD. I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BEING ONE OF THE EARLY CHOSEN FEW THINGS TO LISTEN TO THIS THING. AND. IT. IS. GUD. In all seriousness this album is a brilliant piece of work and easily my favorite effort by The Black Keys to date. Full Review »
  2. May 16, 2014
    8
    I've seen a litany of complaints about this album that should have little to no bearing on an assessment of its merits.

    First up: Their
    I've seen a litany of complaints about this album that should have little to no bearing on an assessment of its merits.

    First up: Their sound has changed.
    Well, of course it has; they started as two guys in a basement with **** equipment. The gritty sound was created by the inability to do anything else. After 12 years they have the money, the studio, the network of musician peers to create something closer to what they originally intended. (Their 2012 CBS Sunday Morning interview featured the guys playing an Isaac Hayes record, "Walk On By," and stating, "That's all we've ever tried to do, right there." It's a sound they've only recently gotten close to capturing on Brothers and Turn Blue.) Their previous albums all feature roots of the sound they've arrived at...Year In Review uses a sample; The Breaks on their first album (The Big Come-Up, 2002) also used a sample. Angular guitar minimalism a la Magic Potion is apparent throughout. Their love of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin is still present (In Our Prime features a very Beatles-y transition, and they covered She Said She Said on their first album). This Black Keys is not so far removed from The Black Keys of 2002, or 2006, or 2010.

    Second: Danger Mouse is homogenizing music.
    To a certain extent, I do agree with this statement; I'd also like to point out that DM is not the first producer to have a signature sound. Ever heard of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound? Auerbach and Carney have referred to Brian Burton as a third member of the band, and his contributions form only 1/3 of the finished product. It's not as though he's taking music they've made and twisting it to fit his "sound." Obviously the Black Keys enjoy this collaborative process, and I'm enjoying the evolution of their music, wherever it takes them. (I've been a fan for almost a decade.)

    Third: The lyrics are misogynistic.
    This album was recorded while Auerbach was going through a messy divorce, complete with custody battle of his daughter. The lyrics reflect this turmoil in his life, but not to a degree that he takes no responsibility for the marriage failing; it falls far short of the sort of persecution complex Kanye West displays on his "breakup album" 808s and Heartbreak, for example. Also, if you aren't big into lyrical tropes such as "that woman done me wrong," you shouldn't be listening to music anyway, because heartbreak is the #1 topic of most songs.

    Fourth: They've sold out.
    They turned down £200,000 for use of one of their songs in an English mayonnaise commercial in the early days of the band, and later regretted it. At the time they had about $2000 in the bank and that money could've paid their rent for 20 years. When they were approached again, they agreed to let their songs be used in movies, commercials and TV shows. Immediately more people knew of them and came to their shows. I won't argue that they HAVEN'T "sold out," if we're basing it on the idea of bands using their music to promote things, but what musician or band HASN'T sold out (after being approached)? If it results in a wider audience, why not get your music out there? Sure, it's easy to argue that the Black Keys should've kept plugging away at smaller gigs, driving around in their **** van with no A/C, stayed a well-kept secret...but are there really any musicians who'd prefer that to being able to pay their bills doing what they love?

    This album isn't perfect by any means, but I don't think it deserves the criticism heaped on it by some critics and listeners. No, it's not as immediately accessible as El Camino; that album was made in the spirit of "somehow we've hit it big, and we're playing huge arenas now, and we want music that'll go over in that environment...catchy faster songs full of hooks." This album, starting with Weight of Love, is clearly much less concerned with what you think of it. It's two (+1) musicians exploring what they can do within the realm of this success and popularity they've achieved. If you want catchy hooks, it's right there on Fever, In Time, Year In Review, and 10 Lovers. If you want tributes to classic rock, it's right there on Weight Of Love, It's Up To You Now, In Our Prime and Gotta Get Away. Plus we get more soul/funk a la Everlasting Light on In Time and 10 Lovers. I for one am excited to see where they take us with each new album.
    Full Review »
  3. May 16, 2014
    5
    All bands evolve, this band has evolved in a direction that is no longer about balls to the wall rock n' roll. Weight of love is getting a lotAll bands evolve, this band has evolved in a direction that is no longer about balls to the wall rock n' roll. Weight of love is getting a lot of love but I would rather listen to instrumental Zappa or Broken Bells instead of a hybrid doing neither as well. Mass fan appeal started after Attack & Release, and it is from that point I started to lose interest. Great middle of the road album you can listen to with your grand parents. Full Review »