Music Review: Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes

By Vanessa Butler

Two parts Motown, one part Janis Joplin and a just a dash of Jack White; the Alabama Shakes release their first album Boys and Girls.

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend, whose band has been given the nod of approval from SXSW, Pitchfork, Virgin Fest and other major music pundits, about what it takes for a band to blow up. We talked about acts that had come and gone who had initially been promised the world, and others whose entire musical career seemed to eclipse the amount of time they found themselves in the spotlight. Eventually we found ourselves talking about the newest ‘it’ band, Alabama Shakes. Who were they and why were they infiltrating every moment of our day?

Two parts Motown, one part Janis Joplin and just a dash of Jack White; Alabama Shakes organically caught the attention of key players in the music industry and music listeners as well. A feat that is incredibly rare in our day.

This is so much better than how the whole Lana Del Rey thing turned out, is it not?

As for the album, Boys and Girls, you can listen to the tracks separately or enjoy all thirty-six minutes and eighteen seconds of it as a whole. Their debut track “Hold On” starts the album off with one mean bass line played by Zac Cockrell that will be stuck in your head for weeks. By the end of the second track “I Found You,” you will be in awe of Brittany Howard’s incredible voice. And most likely you’ll be googling “Alabama Shakes Tour Dates” to see if what you’re hearing holds up to what happens at a live show. (It does.) The rest of the album follows the same amount of vigor, even in slower ballads like “Be Mine” which swells up to a lush crescendo in the end.

It’s strange to write a review on something that you think is spot on for what it is. If you don’t like soul, alt country, southern rock, Aretha Franklin, the 60’s-70’s or alt rock, this album isn’t for you. But if you can find a soft spot for a few young kids trying to make right in the world, without the help of that dang auto-tune, then pick yourself up a copy of Boys and Girls. I promise you won’t look like a hipster. 

Best Tracks: All of it!

Skip These: Don’t you dare. 


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