Soundtrack Of My Life: The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney

The first song I remember hearing

Eddy Grant – ‘Electric Avenue’

“I was and I still am obsessed with this song. I guess I would have been about two when I first heard it, and I think it’s actually informed so much of what I like about music – like, the grinding synths are incredible. It’s a song that’s always been very important to me.”

The first album I bought


Vanilla Ice – ‘To The Extreme’

“I had gotten cassettes before this, but this is the first one I remember going to the mall and buying for myself. I put it on in my dad’s car and after ‘Ice Ice Baby’ finished, for the rest of the record, I just remember him saying: ‘Oh my god, this is so terrible.’ It was the first and last time he was very vocal and negative about what I was listening to. And after that, he kind of took it upon himself to redirect my listening a little bit.”

The song that makes me want to dance

David Bowie – ‘Fame’

“I love that kind of mid-’70s cocaine music even though I’ve never done cocaine. It’s the aesthetic I like, I guess. But for me, it’s not so much a song to dance to as, like, a late-night kind of song. I also love ‘Needles In The Camel’s Eye’ by Brian Eno in the same kind of way.”

The song I do at karaoke


Cypress Hill – ‘Hits From The Bong’

“I actually decided this was my karaoke song a couple of weeks ago – like, independent of this interview question. I’ve been playing a lot of hip-hop music for my son and he loves this song even though he doesn’t know what a bong is. Maybe it’s because there’s something kind of cartoonish about B-Real’s voice? But anyway, I had this moment where I was like: ‘OK, this is my karaoke song.’ I think I could do it well if I was drunk enough.”

The song I can no longer listen to

The Beatles – ‘When I’m Sixty Four’

“I love the Beatles. I think it’s really strange when someone doesn’t love the Beatles. But just from overexposure, there’s probably 20 Beatles songs I could happily never hear again. My dad is gonna be so pissed off with me for saying this, but I could happily never hear ‘Blackbird’ or ‘Yesterday’ ever again. And there’s something clownish and circus-y about ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ that doesn’t work for me; it’s a song that’s never sat well with me.”

The song I wish I had written

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – ‘Purple Haze’

“It goes back to when I was a kid and my dad was kind of correcting my music taste. He did something genius, actually, because the first tape he gave me was ‘Freak Out!’ by The Mothers of Reinvention. And it was so far away from what I had been listening to that I kind of got into it, but kind of didn’t. But then he gave me ‘Purple Haze’ next and I was like ‘wow’. Hendrix‘s dissonant riff at the top was like nothing I’d ever heard before. As a kid, I was like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ And I still get that feeling when I listen to it now.”

The song that reminds me of home

Devo – ‘Jocko Homo’

“Coming from Akron, Ohio, Devo and The Pretenders‘ Chrissie Hynde are my hometown heroes. Devo songs just remind me of being a teenager and seeing this band get out of a town that was hard to get out of – especially back then – and make an impact on the world. That was very inspirational for me.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Silver Jews – ‘Trains Across The Sea’

“There are two songs I’d like at my funeral, actually: ‘Spirit In The Sky’ by Norman Greenbaum, but an instrumental version. And then this song from Silver Jews’ ‘Starlite Walker’ album. I just really love the lyric: ‘In 27 years, I’ve drunk fifty thousand beers / And they just wash against me, like the sea into a pier.’

The Black Keys’ new album ‘Dropout Boogie’ is out now

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