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Where were you most surprised to encounter a Black Keys song?

By Rich Heldenfels Published: May 18, 2014

The guys from Akron, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, have been all over the place in promotion of their new album, "Turn Blue," which for me at least is a reminder of the brooding, guitar-driven sound of the late '60s and early '70s. The Black Keys are not as omnipresent as they were a few years ago, when they were a constant in commercials; in an Entertainment Weekly interview, they contended that their legal action against sound-alike music in some ads had led to their being blacklisted by advertisers. But hey remain out there -- the Internet Movie Database notes their inclusion in the new movie "Neighbors," for instance, and in his interview with Carney, Malcolm X Abram noted that new stuff has been heard in sports coverage. Especially with new tunes being released, it should not be surprising, then, to run across one of their songs even if the context is at times a bit odd.

Looking for something utterly brain-disengaging to watch, the bride and I tried out "Homefront," an action movie starring Jason Statham and with a script by Sylvester Stallone -- and there was a Black Keys song on the soundtrack  It almost didn't matter that the movie was really bad.

Those of us who have been following the Black Keys for a long time can still remember when there was a hey, it's the guys  pleasant shock to hear them, say, in "School of Rock" (their first screen venture that was not a commercial) or "Black Snake Moan," where their swampy earlier sound fit perfectly, or as a crucial erotic accompaniment to a scene on "Rescue Me." ("I'll Be Your Man" at the end of the episode "Alarm," season 1, episode 9). But looking at the Internet Movie Database's list of Black Keys songs onscreen -- a list, by the way, which does not seem complete -- I wondered how it was that they ended up on "Ghost Whisperer" or "Once Upon a Time." (There does seem to be a widespread assumption that their music works well in supernatuiral contexts, including on "Supernatural.")

So here's the question: Are you still surprised o hear the Black Keys on a soundtrack?  Or have they become so big and commonplace that hearing them as background music is worth no more than a nod and a shrug? Don't think of this as a criticism of "Turn Blue," which I like a lot. But the question of overexposure has been raised about the Black Keys for years now, and I am wondering if that has taken some of the freshness off the band -- or if the changes in their sound make them remain listenable even if you tune out when they're in the background.


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