When thinking about cool bands to cover Buddy Holly, the Black Keys are not likely to be the first group to jump to your mind. The Akron, Ohio duo are known for their soul blistering, face melting blend of blues rock so it seems a strange idea for them to cover the nerdy, family-friendly rock and roll pioneer, but cover him they do on a new album full of peculiar choices titled Rave On Buddy Holly.
I'm all about interesting cover songs though so I was excited to hear a more fiery take on "Dearest." Unfortunately the results are not all that interesting at all. Great cover songs take the essence of the original and then do something new and innovative with it. The Black Keys do it straight toning back their hell hound sound so much you hardly recognize them at all.
They add a bit of reverb to the sound, and Dan Auerbach does his best to addsome soul to the vocals, but it all comes off as just another bland cover that pales in comparison to the original. Its a perfectly acceptable version of the classic song, but acceptable isn't at all what you want with either the Black Keys or cover songs. I need something that makes me rethink the original to want to have both versions on my iPod and feel like I'm listening to seperate entitites when they play. Instead I simply wonder why we need this new version when it doesn't improve on the original at all.
You can stream the Black Keys' cut and the rest of the album right here. I recommend Paul McCartney's rocking take on "It's So Easy" and Florence & the Machines darkly interesting version of "Not Fade Away."