It's not that they gave it a bad review. I could understand why someone might not like this album as it is a departure from what the group has done in the past and certainly prominently features an emphasis on synth, which many blues-rock fans might not be too keen to. However, I do take issue with this reviews assertion that the album was over thought out and more so is an attempt by The Keys to make a "deep" album.
Numerous interviews from the Rolling Stone article to interviews on various talk shows reveal that drummer Patrick Carney and frontman Dan Auerbach were previously obsessed with making a "singles" album as they did with El Camino. It's only when the duo started viewing Turn Blue as a new adventurous project that had no limits — in other words a new "I don't give a f--k additude" — that they were able to find the creative spirit to make it. Dan obviously is drawing inspiration from his recent divorce and seems to be throwing it all on the table on this album. The group recalls writing the album's opening track "Weight Of Love" in a quick spontaneous jam session. They certainly aren't overthinking the songs. Rather, the co-writing and production from Danger Mouse is able to form those spontaneous moments of guitar-jam grandeur into uniform songs that make the album flow and give it the structure it needs. It may not be the 2-3 minute quick and simple rock songs that fans have come accustomed to, but it's not overthought — and if anything feels more loose and freeing than the duo's previous two albums.
This is also not a "deep" album as Pitchfork reviewer Larry Fitzmaurice implies. Yes, Auerbach is drawing from a lot of personal experience and pain in recent years. But it's not as if this is a concept album chronicling his pain in loss in some grandiose metaphor. It's fairly simple lyrics talking about love — the oldest and most tried and true topic in music. I mean "Gotta Get Away" and "Bullet In The Brain" are not exactly deep song titles. Everything Auerbach sings about is pretty surface level stuff about his feelings for his ex wife and daughter. That's not to diminish the value of his lyrics of the music. It's all combined in an elegant way that fuses pop, psychedelic blues rock and the pain of a love lost in one complete package. It's just not deep.
This may not be the best album in the Black Keys career as Rolling Stone suggested in its interview, but Pitchfork is crazy for not recognizing this album as a game changer for music in 2014 and as a huge milestone in the band's career and discography. Pitchfork is going to look mighty silly looking back on this review at the end of the year