Poll: What’s Your Favourite Version Of The Black Keys’ Tighten Up Remixed / Mashed Up?

It’s only days until The Black Keys’ new single Lonely Boy, off the El Camino album, is released. Time enough to reflect upon Tighten Up, the first single off the Brothers album, and how it was repeatedly and endlessly remixed, mashed, and reimagined.

It’s almost a mark of a successful song that it should attract this meme-like attention. It’s something that also fostered its success. It’s certainly never occurred to any other Black Keys song to this extent. In this respect it will be interesting to see whether Lonely Boy or another tune gets the love from aspiring producers and rappers and is treated this way.

It maybe the case that Tighten Up had the sweet whistling and backbeat that lends itself to this appropriated treatment. Certainly most of the tracks on Brothers were forged with a drum and bass groove at their core.

Of course, the whole remix mentality of The Black Keys got a big kick along when DJ Wick-It mashed Brothers with rapper Big Boi’s album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty.

It’s difficult to wade through all these tracks below, but The Black Keys Fan Lounge thought we’d conduct our own unscientific poll for the remix/mash-up that fans most like. We’ve excluded a bazillion cover versions around and have tried to include the better mash/remixes.

Yes, there’s even a “drumstep” remix to vote for.

Vote here for your favourite here:

The Black Keys vs. Outkast – Tighten Up vs. Rosa Parks (DJ Unit Blend) by DJ UNIT

Tighten Up (Remix) – Hoodie Allen & The Black Keys by Mark Kwams

Black Bug by Wick-it the Instigator

Phrase – “Tighten Up” (Black Keys cover) by CHARTattack

Hard To Kill Back Home (The Black Keys+ Wu-Tang Clan+ Fort Minor) by renegadeEighty8

Tighten Up The Problems (Black Keys + Jay Z “99 Problems”/”Tighten Up”) by i.david.baker

The Black Keys – Tighten Up (Crunch Theory’s Mayhem Mix) *FREE DOWNLOAD* by CRUNCHTHEØRY

The Black Keys – Tighten Up (Halbnote Remix) by Basti Who tf?!

Tighten Up (DCs Finest Remint) by fortknoxfive

E-LEV-8 – Tighten up (Rmx)(Re-Mastered) by E-Lev-8

Get Tight (Roughcut) by SandySpink

Lil Wayne Vs The Black Keys – Tighten Up Sweet Girl (Swaytek Mash-up) by Swaytek

Tighten Up The Lockdown (The Black Keys vs. Kanye West) by Stan Manson

The First Songs On The Black Keys’ Albums

It might be an unconscious thing for some bands, for others a very conscious moment. The first song on an album sets a tone or sends a message of intent.

Like a setlist at a live show, album song order is usually very deliberate, someone has to ascribe the order afterall. Therefore it’s a conscious act. In thinking about the first songs on The Black Keys albums we are being conscious of the consciousness.

The album is a collection that sits together; it’s not just a random amalgam. The song order will take you on a trip through that collection, increasing the pace or lowering the tempo, changing the mood, influencing how the listener reacts. The first song is key is setting some of those expectations. As band’s grow and think more about their legacy, so too does their attention these details.

Dan and Pat were raised in a pre-iTunes era where the lore of the album experience was important. It would be surprising if they didn’t consider the first song as part of that experience.

Traditionally when listening to an album preview in a record shop you couldn’t just skip through to the next track if you didn’t have access to the record player, tape or cd player. You were forced to listen in song order. The first song therefore assumed greater importance. The online generation just has the opportunity to skip and personalise, listening to a 30 second preview before moving on, deciding to buy or otherwise. Some of the first song influence is therefore lost or not recognised, all songs become a first song.

The one-two punch, soft-loud dynamic. Part of the album experience is to draw the listener in by setting a mood, theme or simply by reducing the volume to get the listener to lean in and concentrate. The second song on an album might then be the two punch. If you think about some of the one-two combinations on The Black Keys’ albums this is perhaps prescient:

Everlasting Light > Next Girl

When The Lights Go Out > 10am Automatic

All You Ever Wanted > I Got Mine

Maybe when the new album drops, listen to the first track and try and imagine the rest of the album before listening to it.

The first songs off The Black Keys’ albums:

The Big Come Up – Busted
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Busted is a cover of the RL Burnside track Skinny Woman albeit with different lyrics. With many covers on this album Dan and Pat are adding themselves firmly to a tradition, with their own  particular identity.

Thickfreakness – Thickfreakness
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Thickfreakness is a body punch attack that doesn’t relent. This signature tune still opens live shows. The power of the song is a template for the album and representative of a clear confidence and arresting desire to be noticed.

Rubber Factory -When The Lights Go Out
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Slow tempo blues shakes up the generally straight ahead approach on Thickfreakness. This slow burning tune holds back, slowly showing its layers. The same could be said of the album.

Magic Potion – Just Got To Be
[wpaudio url=”http://theblackkeysfanlounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Just-Got-To-Be.mp3 ” text=”Listen to Just Got To Be here” dl=”0″]

Get ready to rock. Straight ahead riffage, looping around and around. The rest of the album doesn’t much change.

Attack & Release – All You Ever Wanted
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Reminiscent of Rubber Factory, slow tempo. I Got Mine follows up. Like a foot in both camps, the band trying to break free and then still delivering what is seemingly expected of them.

Brothers – Everlasting Light
[wpaudio url=”http://theblackkeysfanlounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/The-Black-Keys-Everlasting-Light2.mp3 ” text=”Listen to Everlasting Light here” dl=”0″]

The album where vocally Dan risked alot and succeeded. What better way to set the mood and shake up fans old and new than with a falsetto-esque vocal treatment to Everlasting Light. You knew immediately you were about to hear something different from that which had preceeded it.

Listen: The Black Keys Live on KCRW Radio 2010

The Black Keys Fan Lounge has long enjoyed the live sessions recorded for the This Morning Becomes Eclectic show on KCRW radio in the USA.

You can hear The Black Keys on the show in 2003 and 2008 here.

Here’s a new document for the file. The two sets and interview brings us up to date wth the Brothers offering with the addition of Chop and Change and the ever fiery Your Touch. The interview is hilarious at times. Would you expect anything less?

The version of She’s Long Gone is fantastic, as it always is live, before effortlessly segueing into a moody Ten Cent Pistol.



  • Everlasting Light
  • Next Girl
  • Chop and Change
  • Howling For You
  • (interview)
  • Tighten Up
  • She’s Long Gone
  • Ten Cent Pistol
  • Sinister Kid
  • Your Touch

Listen here:

Watch here: