The recent "Once Upon a Dream" cover artist Tweeted a photo of her and the Black Keys frontman together, with her arms around his neck, each appropriately stoic. "Me and Dan Auerbach are excited to present you Ultraviolence," she posted, which Auerbach retweeted. Del Rey had announced the "Ultraviolence" title when she premiered her "Tropico" video last month, with a May 1 release date.
With what little one could cull from the statement, the pairing sounds to be more than just a duet or some guitarwork: the guitarist and singer could likely be producing the set. That scenery in black and white could be the Akron Analog studio near Auerbach's Ohio hometown or at his Easy
Me and Dan Auerbach are excited to present you Ultraviolence pic.twitter.com/aRAZYscwYd— Lana Del Rey (@LanaDelRey) February 20, 2014
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the conversations that led this to be. The Black Keys have never held back their opinion on pop music -- or music tech, label politics, and so on -- and back in 2012, Auerbach had some strong feelings about the "Lana Del Reys" of the world. This was right around the time after "Video Games" blew up, "Born to Die" was about to hit shelves and Del Rey hit "Saturday Night Live" with a foal-on-ice effect.
"On some level, we've seen that Lana Del Rey thing since we first started. All of a sudden this new band would be headlining festivals and we're like, 'Wait, how did they get that?' We've been here for two, three, four, five years and we're still working our way up. But then they're gone. Just as quickly as they get up there, they disappear," Auerbach told MTV in early January 2012.
Maybe Auerbach sees something in Del Rey - beyond Interscope's backing -- that's worth keeping from "disappering." And maybe it's something he'd like to see in himself: as a producer, he's primarily worked with artists in a rock and heritage rock framework. If "Tropico," "Born to Die" and Del Rey's other pop, singer-songwriter and genre amalgams are any indication, the Black Keysman may want to stretch out this time.
He won the Grammy for Best Producer, Non-Classical in 2013 for his work on The Black Keys' "El Camino," Dr. John's "Locked Down" and Hacienda's "Loud Is The Night." Ray Lamontagne just recently announced his new album, "Supernova," with Auerbach behind the decks. Black Keys' contemporary Hanni El Katib, Nashville brethren JEFF The Brotherhood, and Reigning Sound also had Auerbach as producer.
But Auerbach has also done a nice job on ladies' recent efforts, for folk/blues singer Valerie June last year, rocker Grace Potter in 2012 and Jessica Lea Mayfield in 2011 (get ready to have your hair blown back with Mayfield's new 2014 effort "Make My Head Sing"). He also steeped in soul with Michael Kiwanuka and tried something a little different with Tuareg guitarist Bombino.
Just listen to songs from his last few production efforts: where could Del Rey use some of his skillset? Where could Auerbach use some of Del Rey's?
And when's that new Black Keys album gonna drop?