No Trust: The Reoccurrence of the “Crazy Bitch” in The Black Keys’ Lyrics

This is a guest post by Fan Lounge forum member GrownSoFugly


The first Black Keys album I ever bought was Thickfreakness.  I popped it in and was immediately clocked in the face by the power of that gritty chainsaw guitar.  Then I looked at the track listing and laughed out loud.  “Hurt Like Mine”?  “Hold Me In Your Arms”? “I Cry Alone”?  Seemed a little… sensitive for such a badass sound.  I’ve since learned that as a lyricist, Dan Auerbach is obsessed with love.  He writes about everlasting devotion, rump-doin’, love as an anti-drug.  More often, though, he’ll write about unrequited love, love lost, and all that other distasteful stuff in between: manipulation, deception, infidelity, loneliness, uncertainty, and the pain of letting go.

Although The Black Keys like to claim that the music they make is not blues, the thematical influence is undeniable.  Working off of the blues template of melancholy and sadness, Dan specifically likes to write about the crazy shit that desperate women do.

One of my favorite tracks off of that album is “No Trust”: [wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to No Trust here” dl=”0″]

She wanna get outta the car

And she ain’t got trust in you

In the middle of the road

And her screaming and hollerin’

Is getting mighty old

She check every paper

When you step out the room

Ain’t go no trust in your mama

Ain’t got no trust in your daddy

Ain’t got no trust in your sister

The song is essentially a biography of a troubled woman whose distrust of her lover is so acrimonious that it pollutes the relationship.  It’s catchy, and it’s interesting.  Why is she so suspicious of him?  Did he do something to destroy her faith in him?  But her distrust seems to be of everybody, so was it someone else who shattered her certitude?  Is she the same girl that the narrator saved from a tumultuous relationship in “Set You Free”?

Now you look and there you go back to him, he’s gonna do you in

Tear you down and run you around

Treat you wrong and then he’s gone

Wait… so is this the same girl from “Midnight In Her Eyes”??

You never thought about going wrong

Now you wonder where your man has gone

Midnight is in her eyes

Lately you’re feeling low

Heartache on the floor

Your manic ways have got the best of you

But your heart is gonna see you through

So there’s a girl that has an old wound that refuses to heal.  Her crippled sense of self worth has resulted in an inability to trust and the tendency to, well, be a little crazy.  Oh, and she has long amber hair!  We meet her again in Rubber Factory on “10 A.M. Automatic”, a tale of a nighttime transformation “from sweet to deranged” and a next morning getaway.  To me, it describes a girl who looked for comfort (or validation?) in a stranger’s bed and found instead more uncertainty and disappointment.  Kind of a crazy-girl’s version of coyote ugly.

I see darkness cover us

And your car kicks up dust

What about my ways makes you doubt

All these words from my mouth

Sounds familiar.  This apparent theme of an unusual girl’s insecurities bulldozing a path of destruction through men continued to pop up sporadically (did she extinguish “The Flame”?  Was she one of the accusational birds on the wire in “Strange Desire”?  Was it for her that he went “The Lengths”?), until the her grand re-entrance in “Psychotic Girl” from Attack & Release:

I heard you threw your man around

Picked him up just to put him down

It’s a shame cause I always knew

It’s just the way you’re gonna do

He’s frustrated with her, but even more so with himself.  He’s let her play games with his emotions one too many times and he’s sick of it.   He’s pissed and he’s kicking himself for his naivete.  The following track, “Lies”, laments the false promises of this psychotic girl.  In “Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be”, she leaves him with seemingly heartless abandon.  The whole album reeks of break-up, contempt, and determination to never again fall for the manic ways of this girl with a path of destruction behind her.  This resolution doesn’t seem to have been set at naught, though, as her appearances in Brothers are only in hindsight.  She could definitely be the self-doubting “ex-girl” in “Next Girl”:

I wanted love but not for myself

But for the girl so she could

So she could love herself

And I’m convinced the violent jealous rage in “Ten Cent Pistol” was also the work of this psychotic bulldozer girl.  It seems as though the narrator has learned his lesson, but the girl has not.  She continues to let her insecurities send tidal waves of drama in all directions, while he’s renewing his vows to stay the hell away from her.  As an album, the motto of Brothers seems to be, “Warning:  Women are psycho-bitches and will lead to nothing but pain, suffering, and regret”.  Which is no surprise, considering the obvious destruction that this woman has caused Dan or someone very close to him.  I’m sure her story isn’t quite over yet, although I do hope that the next chapter we hear is just an Epilogue, not an oops-I-did-it-again.

Whoever she is, she’s great song-writing fodder.  For the passions she stirs, and for her relatable familiarity.  We all know this woman, and we all know a man caught in her web.  She’s insecure.  She’s whiny.  She’s close-minded and stubborn.  She creeps through his text messages while he’s in the bathroom.  She stalks every female friend of his on Facebook.  She interrogates him when he goes out with his friends.  She thinks she’s fat.  She gives ultimatums.  She’s convinced he’s cheating on her with his secretary.  And the cleaning lady.  Also the Starbucks barista, the woman in 4B, and that girl who smiled at him that one time on the subway.  She probably has Daddy issues.  She definitely has trust issues and her favorite game is one of emotional blackmail.  She makes the rest of us girls look bad.

She goes after guys in rock bands.

So what do we take from all this?  Is there a lesson to learn from the mistakes of two young, naive musicians?  There’s always a lesson, and today’s is an important one so listen up:

No matter how tempting her thickfreakness, don’t ever stick your dick in a crazy!

MP3: The Black Keys’ Radio Recordings 2007-2008

These recordings previously broadcast by the respective radio stations listed span a time period in the career of The Black Keys between the Magic Potion and Attack & Release albums. They were all freely broadcast, they are reproduced here for the record.

Radio recordings are generally of a much higher quality than any other live recordings. What’s more these sessions are by their nature limited since the band cannot regularly do these type of live recordings. They either simply don’t have the time, too much of a good thing reduces their impact, and most radio stations don’t have studio facilities.

For those fans yearning for some rarities and older tunes in the current live set list, there are some treasures here.

The Strange Desire segue into The Flame is impressive. Would be great to hear that again live alike the Busted segue into Stack Shot Billy that is currently being played live.

Trainspotters will love hearing I Got Mine in its variations, previously The Black Keys’ most recognisable tune.

The cover Here I Am, I Always Am has always been sparsely played so its great to hear that again. The Black Keys Fan Lounge previously featured the KCRW session in this post which included an interview. The Black Keys Fan Lounge has also previously featured a 2003 BBC recording of The Black Keys here.

Live on NPR/WXPN – 18 April 2007

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Your Touch here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to You’re The One here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Strange Desire / The Flame here” dl=”0″]

Live on NPR/Out Of The Garage – 23 May 2008

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to I Got Mine here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Same Old Thing here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Strange Times here” dl=”0″]

BBC Maida Vale Studios – 12 August 2008

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Same Old Thing here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Strange Times here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to I’m Glad here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Psychotic Girl here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to I Got Mine here” dl=”0″]

Live on KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic – 31 March 2008

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Same Old Thing here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Remember When (Side B) here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Girl Is On My Mind here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to I Got Mine here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Here I Am, I Always Am here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Oceans & Streams here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Strange Times here” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to 10am Automatic here” dl=”0″]

Big fat hat tip to JR

MP3: Dan Auerbach Provides Vocals To Freddie Gibbs’ Track ‘Oil Money’

It’s not quite Blakroc, but Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys has contributed vocals to Freddie Gibbs’ new track ‘Oil Money’.

[wpaudio url=” ” text=”Listen to Freddie Gibbs’ Oil Money feat. Dan Auerbach here” dl=”0″]

The Freddie Gibbs track features Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids, Chip Tha Ripper, Bun B and Dan. Freddie has been compared to Tupac Shakur, and listening to his other tracks, you can hear where the comparison draws from.

Gibbs, Chuck Inglish and Chip Tha Ripper are fairly young artists all having emerged in the last 6 years at most, and Bun B has been active since 1989. Chip hails from Cleveland, and though that may not have anything to do with how Dan became a part of this project, it’s quite interesting — they are all from the midwest (Bun B hails from Texas). All of these artists have a following and have collaborated with artists such as The Bloody Beetroots, Ludacris, Kid Cudi, and M.I.A. Also, it was reported in February that Raekwon is developing a biopic where he wants Chuck Inglish to portray him.

It’s always great to hear about the side projects that Dan Auerbach contributes to. He admits that he is a workaholic, and in the last 9+ years of making music, it would not be surprising to hear a confirmation of Dan alone working with over 20 artists.

In an interview Dan is asked which artists inspire the ‘boxiness’ and ‘crunchiness’ of the Black Keys’ produced sounds, Dan explains:

It’s Wu-Tang. It’s The RZA. Those are those hip-hop records we loved. That’s the reason Pat and I started playing, because we wanted to make recordings on the four-track that sounded like RZA productions. It was literally what we wanted to do. It was our goal. Later on, we realized that a lot of the sounds we heard were late ‘60s recordings that were sampled, like drum recordings. And it was all like this circle, and it all made sense when you picked it apart. For us, it was about the groove. The groove was king and things are still like that for us.

It’s a pleasant surprise to see Dan’s name attached to this track, and hearing it with its lyrics and little things like the keys suggests Dan may have had some creative input. Most rappers and musicians would probably credit the luminaries of Wu-Tang as major influences, so it’s awesome to see 5 artists collaborating and mixing their sounds.

It’s great to see Dan and The Black Keys more involved and exposed within the hip-hop community, and fans seem to be embracing them.

From an interview in November 2009 about Blakroc, Dan states:

Hip-hop is the new rock ‘n’ roll, and anyone who doesn’t think that is living in the past. It’s all just American music when you get right down to it. It all comes from the same place.

Freddie Gibbs’ new album entitled “Str8 Killa” drops on August 3rd.