Tighten Up (The Black Keys song)

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"Tighten Up"
Single by The Black Keys
from the album Brothers
A-side "Tighten Up"
B-side "Howlin' for You"
Released 2010
Format CD, Music download
Recorded Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Genre Garage rock, blues rock
Length 3:34
Label Nonesuch Records
Writer(s) Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney
Producer(s) Danger Mouse
Certification Gold (RIAA)[1]
The Black Keys singles chronology
"Same Old Thing"
(2008)
"Tighten Up"
(2010)
"Ohio"
(2011)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[2]

"Tighten Up" is a song by American rock band The Black Keys. It is the third track on their 2010 album Brothers and was released as the record's first single on May 18, 2010.[3][4] Dan Auerbach told The Sun how the song originated: "That was the last song we did for the record. We had a couple of days off and so did Brian (Danger Mouse) and since we are friends and like hanging out with each other we thought it would be fun to go into the studio and see if we could come up with a tune. We always have a blast when the three of us get together."[5]

"Tighten Up" has been licensed to appear in the video game FIFA 11, the music video games Rocksmith and Rock Band 3 (as downloadable content for both), the television program Gossip Girl, a Subaru commercial, a Molson commercial, and the films I Am Number Four, Bad Teacher, and Spring Breakers. The song has become one of the most successful Black Keys singles in the United States, being their first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number one on the Alternative Songs and Rock Songs charts.[6] Rolling Stone put the song on its list of the 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time.[7] At the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011, the song won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, while also receiving a nomination for Best Rock Song. Musically, the song is in the key of F sharp minor.

Music video[edit]

The original music video for the song was a low budget clip starring a puppet dinosaur named Frank who is standing beside a plant. The video shows him dancing and miming the words a little, whilst subtitles go on explaining different facts about the video, the band, and Frank; e.g. "Frank has a profile on eHarmony..." "He is a puppet, not a real dinosaur." This goes along the same direction of using sort of "obvious" or "simple" ways to say things like the album cover does; e.g. "This is a song by the Black Keys", "It's from an album called Brothers", etc. The video was made by director Chris Marrs Piliero as the label asked them to do a placeholder video for "Tighten Up" as a teaser for Brothers. Piliero was inspired by both "stupid kid shit that could still be for adults, like Yo Gabba Gabba! and "all these weird and sometimes creepy old-school puppet stuff from the 50, 60s, 70s.", considering at first an ALF doll before settling on the dinosaur. He later made a similar teaser video for "Next Girl", where Frank interacts with bikini-clad models.[8]

The official music video, also directed by Piliero, was released on May 18, 2010.[9][10] It shows Auerbach and his fictional son walking to the park. Auerbach sits next to Carney on a bench while their fictional sons play with toy trucks. Auerbach's son looks up on the playground to see a little girl, after which he starts to lip sync to the song. He climbs up on the playground and goes in to kiss her but then he opens his eyes to realize Carney's son has lured her away. After he attempts to kiss her, the two boys begin to fight. After Auerbach and Carney attempt in vain to break up the fight, they see the hot mother of the girl, played by the beautiful and talented Spanish actress Carlotta Elektra Bosch,[11][12] and begin to fight like their sons. They hit each other using mostly Carney's drum kit and after the woman sees them fighting, she walks away in disgust. Their boys come to them and shake their heads at them with disappointment.

The official music video won the 2010 MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video,[13] and it appears on Pitchfork's top music videos of 2010.

Charting[edit]

On the week ending November 6, 2010, "Tighten Up" debuted at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.[14] It re-entered at #87 on the week ending January 22, 2011. The single also achieved early success on rock radio, hitting #1 on both the Alternative Songs chart (for ten weeks) and the Rock Songs chart (for twelve weeks).

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[15] 17
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[16] 57
Canada Active Rock (America's Music Charts) 1
Canada Alternative Rock (America's Music Charts) 1
Denmark Airplay (Tracklisten)[17] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 87
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[19] 12
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[20] 1
US Rock Songs (Billboard)[6] 1

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by The Black Keys.

  1. "Tighten Up" – 3:30
  2. "Howlin' for You" – 3:11[21]

Personnel[edit]

The Black Keys
Additional musicians
Technical personnel
  • Tchad Blake – mixing
  • Danger Mouse at The Bunker, Brooklyn, NY – production
  • Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering – mastering
  • Mark Neil at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – engineering and production on "Howlin' for You"
  • Kennie Takahashi – engineering on "Tighten Up"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Black Keys - Tighten Up". RIAA. Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  2. ^ O'Donnell, Kevin (2010-04-08). "The Black Keys "Tighten Up"". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ The Black Keys Official Website — Track News
  4. ^ The Black Keys Official Website — Album News
  5. ^ Tighten Up Songfacts
  6. ^ a b Tighten Up - The Black Keys - Chart history. Billboard.com.
  7. ^ Murphy, Kate (September 30, 2011). "The 15 Best Whistling Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ Dombal, Ryan (June 22, 2010). "Director's Cut: Black Keys: "Next Girl"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  9. ^ "The Black Keys - Tighten Up (Official Music Video)". May 20, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ The Black Keys' Myspace video
  11. ^ Carlotta Elektra Bosch official website
  12. ^ Carlotta Elektra Bosch on IMDb
  13. ^ "VMA Playlist: All-Time Best Breakthrough Videos". 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ The Black Keys Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100 Billboard.com.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Black Keys – Tighten Up" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  16. ^ "The Black Keys Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for The Black Keys.
  17. ^ "The Black Keys – Tighten Up Hitlisten.nu" (in Danish). Tracklisten.
  18. ^ "The Black Keys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for The Black Keys.
  19. ^ "The Black Keys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Alternative Songs for The Black Keys.
  20. ^ "The Black Keys Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for The Black Keys.
  21. ^ Nonesuch Records