Turn Blue is the eighth studio album by American rock duo the Black Keys. It was co-produced by Danger Mouse and the band, and was released on Nonesuch Records on May 12, 2014. The record was the group’s fourth collaboration with Danger Mouse, following their previous studio album, El Camino (2011), which was their biggest commercial and critical success to that point. For Turn Blue, Danger Mouse reprised his role from El Camino as an equal songwriting partner alongside guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney.
The Black Keys recorded the majority of Turn Blue at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, California, from July–August 2013, with additional recording taking place at Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, in early 2014. The sessions coincided with Auerbach’s divorce from his wife, which inspired much of the album’s lyrics. The resulting material was more melancholy and slower paced than the uptempo, hook-laden songs from El Camino. The album exhibits influences from psychedelic rock and soul, further departing from the raw, blues rock sound of the group’s early years. In addition to representing the record’s moody tone, the title was selected as a homage to the “turn blue” catchphrase used by 1960s horror host Ghoulardi.
The band announced the album in March 2014 via a tweet by retired boxer Mike Tyson and a series of cryptic YouTube videos featuring a hypnotist. The song “Fever” was released as the lead single in March. Turn Blue has received favorable reviews from critics, many of whom commented on Danger Mouse’s growing influence on the band. The album debuted at number one in the United States and Australia, becoming the group’s first record to top the charts in either country. In May 2014, they embarked on a world tour in support of the album.
Turn Blue was announced on March 21, 2014, via a tweet by retired boxer Mike Tyson; the “announcement” contained the album title and a hyperlink to a series of cryptic YouTube videos featuring a hypnotist played by actor Micah Fitzgerald. The idea to have Tyson unveil the album originated after he called the band to thank them for licensing a song for use in a documentary he was making and he offered to do them a favor. On March 24, the song “Fever” was released as the lead single, along with the unveiling of the album’s cover art and track listing. A second song, “Turn Blue”, was premiered on Carney’s Sirius XM Radio program Serious Boredom on April 14. On May 5, one week prior to the release date, the album became available for streaming on iTunes Radio. The group made their third appearance on American sketch comedy television show Saturday Night Live three days prior to the album’s release, performing “Fever” and “Bullet in the Brain”. Other promotional appearances including performances on Live on Letterman/Late Show with David Letterman and The Colbert Report. Turn Blue was released on May 12, 2014. “Bullet in the Brain” was released as the album’s third single in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2014.
On May 8, the band announced the remainder of the dates for their 2014 concert tour in support of the album. The Turn Blue World Tour began with an appearance at the Hangout Music Festival on May 16, and will be followed by a European leg of shows from June–July and a North American leg from September–December.
- “Weight of Love”
- “In Time”
- “Turn Blue”
- “Year in Review”
- “Bullet in the Brain”
- “It’s Up to You Now”
- “Waiting on Words”
- “10 Lovers”
- “In Our Prime”
- “Gotta Get Away”