Thursday, June 8, 2017

Album Review: Dan Auerbach - Waiting On A Song

Dan Auerbach
Waiting On A Song
**** out of *****
We have written about this before, but there is a fine line between homage and straight ripoff when it comes to creating any form of retro music. If you just see Dan Auerbach's name on a album that was discussing this topic, you would think we were diving deep into the blues, but on his newest solo album Waiting On A Song Auerbach has crafted a pristine loving tribute to 60's 70's and 80's pop music that struggles on that slippery slope between homage/ripoff.

It should be noted though that while these songs successfully bring to mind a specific era/genre, they are also pretty damn great in their own right. None is better than the title track, it is a pristine dose of soulful pop that is timelessly classic and one of the purest songs released in 2017. Co-written with John Prine it is excellent capturing of a simple pop track, rare these days.

The next few numbers continue this super high bar of excellence "Malibu Man" moves with an organ line, horn burst and huge string section that pumps the energy upward while telling a cross country story while "Livin' In Sin" calls to mind prime Paul Simon with fantastic electric guitar work behind it. The classic rock royalty comparisons continue with "Shine on Me" a rollicking number that could have been a Jeff Lynne produced Traveling Wilburys outtake.  

"King of a One Horse Town" dives into the 70's with a track Carole King would be proud of via laid back strings and warbling electro sounds. Auerbach's singing all over the album is pristine, his voice in recent years on various projects has become more of focal point, but never more so than on this release. While praising him it should also be mentioned, he has clearly become one of the best producers going today, every little nuance here is perfectly placed (almost too perfectly) as his excellence with other artists (Dr. John, Valerie June etc) continues to his own work.

He brings brass lines into the mix for some Memphis Soul styling with "Never In My Wildest Dreams" that begins acoustically and brings an easy stroll into everything. Both "Cherrybomb" and "Undertow" are the only tracks not perfectly suited for the disk as both pump up more of a smooth funk/disco vibe that, while enjoyable, seem out of step with the rest of the tracks and would be better suited for The Arc's or next Black Key's effort. .

"Stand By My Girl" amps up the humor with it's lyrics and huge chorus while the album closes on another classic track "Show Me"with it's hand claps and galloping upbeat strumming, it ending on a high note. Whether it is homage or ripoff is up to you, what is undeniable is how much pure retro pop fun Waiting On A Song is.  
This album almost got even a higher rating, but that homage/ripoff line is so close RtBE kept going back and forth. Either way we can't deny the song writing, production and pure fun of the tracks here. Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

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