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The Black Keys - Thickfreakness.jpg
Studio album by The Black Keys
Released April 8, 2003 (2003-04-08)
Recorded December 2002 at Studio 45 in Akron, OH
Genre Garage rock, blues rock
Length 39:01
Label Fat Possum
Producer Patrick Carney
The Black Keys chronology
The Six Parts Seven/The Black Keys EP
Rubber Factory
Singles from Thickfreakness
  1. "Set You Free"
    Released: 2002
  2. "Hard Row"
    Released: 2003
  3. "Have Love Will Travel"
    Released: 2003
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (7.7/10)[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]

Thickfreakness is the second album by American rock duo The Black Keys, released in 2003. It is their debut release for the Fat Possum record label.


The band's debut album The Big Come Up had been tremendously successful for an independent rock band and Thickfreakness further increased their profile. It continues The Black Keys' tradition of raw, heavy blues-influenced garage rock. Thickfreakness is known in Japan as Inazuma Rockin' Blues, with "inazuma" meaning "flash of lightning".[citation needed]

Songs such as "Set You Free" won the pair some mainstream success as being featured in the soundtrack of the 2003 film School of Rock. Heavy comparisons to another American blues-influenced garage rock duo, The White Stripes, were often made by the music media. [4]


Most of the album was recorded in December 2002 during a single 14-hour session in Patrick Carney's basement using an early 1980s Tascam 388 8-track recorder. This approach was necessary because the group spent its small advance payment from Fat Possum Records on rent.[5][6][7][8] The liner notes claim this is Carney's "patented recording technique called 'medium fidelity'". The result is an older sounding sound.[9] The song "Midnight in Her Eyes" is one of the few Black Keys songs that used a bass guitar; Dan Auerbach dubbed a bassline by playing a Guild SG-style bass through a guitar amp into the song. Part of "Set You Free" was recorded by Jeff Saltzman.

The album included two covers: "Have Love, Will Travel" by Richard Berry and "Everywhere I Go" by north Mississippi bluesman Junior Kimbrough.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Thickfreakness"   3:48
2. "Hard Row" (lyrics by Dan and Chuck Auerbach) 3:15
3. "Set You Free"   2:46
4. "Midnight in Her Eyes"   4:02
5. "Have Love Will Travel" (Richard Berry) 3:04
6. "Hurt Like Mine"   3:27
7. "Everywhere I Go" (Junior Kimbrough) 5:40
8. "No Trust"   3:37
9. "If You See Me"   2:52
10. "Hold Me in Your Arms"   3:19
11. "I Cry Alone"   2:47
Japanese bonus track
No. Title Length
12. "Evil"   2:27



  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review at the Wayback Machine (archived April 16, 2009)
  4. ^ Carr, Eric. "The Black Keys: Thickfreakness". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (September 2010). "Blues Explosion!". Spin 26 (8): 60–63. Retrieved August 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ Katz, Larry (October 7, 2003). "Into the Black; Keys unlock a raw, bluesy sound". Boston Herald (Herald Media Inc.). sec. The Edge, p. 47. 
  7. ^ Thickfreakness (CD booklet). The Black Keys. Fat Possum Records. 2003. 
  8. ^ Inman, Davis (2010-07-21). "On record: The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  9. ^ Tranter, Rhys (2003-06-17). "The Black Keys — Thickfreakness". Collective. Retrieved 2011-01-11.