PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Dan Auerbach: Waiting on a Song

The consistently working musician delivers his own version of a vacation on a set of tunes that pays homage to Nashville and opens up a bright road ahead.


Dan Auerbach

Waiting on a Song

Label: Easy Eye Sound
US Release Date: 2017-06-02
UK Release Date: 2017-06-02
Amazon
iTunes

Since the Black Keys’ dropped their latest record, 2014’s Turn Blue, Dan Auerbach has been busy. In addition to a world tour the Keys’ took into early 2015, he followed that #1 album with a side project in the Arcs’ Yours, Dreamily. Also, he has steadily worked as a producer and collaborator on a number of projects: Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence, Nikki Lane’s All or Nothin, Cage the Elephant’s Tell Me I’m Pretty, and most recently with Chrissie Hynde on the Pretenders’ return Alone in 2016. Behind that work, he put together a brisk and sweet set of summery tunes with collaborators for his second solo album, Waiting on a Song.

Together with John Prine, Duane Eddy, David “Fergie” Ferguson, and Mark Knopfler, Waiting on a Song is equally rooted in a 1970s sound and his influences in Nashville, as well as by Auerbach’s extensive career and projects. The album also initiates his recently created label Easy Eye Sound, based out of the same named studio he owns and records at in Nashville. A “Nashville sound” is hard to miss on Waiting on a Song, from the collaborators and friends that notably dropped into Auerbach’s studio to the mood generated by the album’s tracks.

When Auerbach put out his debut solo record nearly eight years ago, Keep It Hid, his work ethic and productively was already noteworthy, particularly given the rise in status the Black Keys enjoyed with their 2008 release Attack and Release. But Keep It Hid built on the style of Attack and Release, while Waiting on a Song emphasizes smoother qualities (a “Nashville sound”) when it links to the pop qualities that flowed on Turn Blue. Where the most recent Keys album was also dark and moody, Waiting on a Song is bright and looking ahead in its revelry of Nashville and Auerbach’s influences.

Notably divergent even from the more recent Arcs side-project, Auerbach’s voice and guitar work shine in the bright atmosphere depicted throughout Waiting on a Song. Each of Auerbach’s collaborators infused the songs they appear on with their unique styles, such as “Shine on Me,” which features the distinctive guitar and style of Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler. John Prine’s presence on the title track is evident, too, and it’s a pleasant start that sets this album apart from Auerbach’s recent output as a performer and lead artist. If any track could be linked to either the Arcs’ album or the Keys, it's “King of a One Horse Town". Along with the deeper voice Auerbach has sung with on previous albums, there's an orchestral component that creates a unique atmosphere at the midpoint of the album overall.

The second half of the album dives deeper into the positivity Auerbach portrays in his ode to Nashville and this debut for his own label. “Never In My Wildest Dreams” is folksy, jazzy, and hopeful, slow in its start, but bolder as it progresses and Auerbach’s singing is joyful in a noticeable cadence that matches the music and its arrangement. A twangy, loose guitar permeates “Cherry Bomb", and the song also carries a deliberate vocal delivery.

Auerbach’s skill as a performer, arranger, writer, and producer, is that he maintains a stylistic presence from track to track on the albums he works, and with each song on Waiting on a Song there are purposeful shifts in tone that still carry the album’s mood and loose quality. Upon initial listen there are jarring qualities to some of the shifts, such as from “Cherry Bomb” to “Stand By My Girl", but that fades upon deserved multiple listens, and the style throughout the album is enjoyably present.

So much of the roll out for Waiting on a Song built up its status debuting Auerbach’s studio in Nashville and celebrating the community of performing and collaborators he enjoys in his new hometown (since moving from Akron, Ohio, in 2010). Celebrating his influences and paying homage are admirable and generate a joyous, entertaining album, but it ends too quickly. At a short (comparatively) 33 minutes, this album doesn't slow down at any point, but then it's over too quickly. Perhaps that’s a good set-up to inspire multiple listens or designed to leave you listening for more, and both happened to me.

Dan Auerbach’s second studio album Waiting on a Song is an ode to the community he’s surrounded himself in Nashville, as well as a nice future looking set of songs. The album’s overall style and mood are best depicted in its final track, “Show Me". There’s an element of conclusion and sense that the song was written for driving away after good times. Auerbach’s career is full, and his work is constant, aspects seeming to deserve a vacation. Waiting On a Song represents that vacation: he’s having fun with friends, playing spontaneous, and performing tunes that pay ode to a “Nashville sound” and his myriad influences.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.

Books

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon
Music

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.

Music

'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.

Music

ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.

Music

The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.

Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.