Apparently, there is (perhaps running?) new feature on Vice’s nightly HBO program Vice News Tonight called “Patrick Carney’s High Music Standards Corner.” On last night’s edition, the notoriously prickly Black Keys drummer took a cold listen to several recent rock and pop selections and offered his visceral impressions. As the title of the segment implies, Carney is a pretty opinionated guy, and when he doesn’t like something, well, he’s damn sure gonna let you know it! He has a clear, back-to-basics value set, but sometimes, it gets tested!
Last night, Pat actually tapped his toe to a (gasp!) One Republic song (“So embarrassed I liked One Republic”). He recognized Norah Jones’ piano playing before she started singing (“It’s cool”). But then, he heard something he didn’t like very much. He gave “Perfect Illusion,” Lady Gaga’s collaboration with Mark Ronson and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker from her upcoming Joanne, a little piece of his mind.
It was the layered electric guitar lead that really got his blood boiling. “I hate guitars that sound like that. I’m lost because the guitar at the top of it sounds so shitty,” Carney said. “It’s like ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ but not even nearly as good as that. It sounds like Hulk Hogan is playing the fucking guitar.”
First of all, this seems an ill-conceived argument: Though the brittle, distorted sound of Parker’s rhythm guitar does recall Hogan’s one-time entrance theme, his layered leads “at the top” have a triumphant, richly melodic quality that is absent from the 1982 hit. If Carney is listening to Gaga’s club music and hears sub-Survivor cock-rock, he’s missing the forest for the trees.
It seems like perhaps, at the end of the clip, he begins to realize he’s being kind of an idiot, claiming Gaga’s single is “growing on him.” Still, there’s an aura of snark: “That’s the thing about music: The more you hear something, the more you like it. That’s why payola worked,” he followed up.
But even if one doesn’t really like Gaga’s song, it’s at least a representation of an artist pushing into new realms and working outside of their comfort zone—something the Black Keys have seemed, throughout their career, to be largely disinterested in. (Getting Danger Mouse to make your albums sound cleaner doesn’t count). Later to Turn Blue; persevere, Gaga.
Watch the clip below.