This track is from Brothers, the sixth album by American blues-rock duo, The Black Keys. The band comprises vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney.
Mark Neill, who co-produced/engineered the record with Auerbach and Carney, told The Black Keys Fan Lounge about this song: "Next Girl is a classic soul sound. The feature of this song is the melody. The song vaguely mirrors Pat's experiences with his divorce, which both Dan and Pat were feeling sympathetically. It was pretty heavy, a really amazing moment, where when you hear the sound come out of the speakers you go 'Is that me, is that you?' It was one of those moments when you don't even recognize anybody in the room is involved in it."
Patrick Carney was in a really bad place, in the tail end of a crumbling relationship. The story goes that Dan Auerbach wrote this tune for Carney to acknowledge the fact that he knew what his partner was going through with the divorce. "Oh I wrote that song before," Auerbach told Mojo magazine: "It wasn't about him. I wrote that song a year and a half before we recorded Brothers, around the time I was working on the solo record stuff. It just happened to be the first song we recorded for Brothers."
He admitted that hearing the song was a special moment for Carney. "I just saw it in his eyes," he told Mojo. "Pat's just playing along, we get all the instrumentation done, then he goes out to smoke. Then I put the vocals on and he comes back in to finally hear the song. And… His eyes lit up and he gave me a big hug. It was weird. I didn't plan it like that. It just worked. It was just destiny."
This was the first of 10 tracks the band recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. The studio was active from 1969-1978, with Paul Simon, The Staple Singers and The Rolling Stones all recording there. It was owned by the musicians who formed the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. In 1999, Noel Webster bought the building and eventually reopened it as a studio. The Black Keys chose to record there after getting together with producer Mark Neill, who had a slew of old analog equipment that they trucked to the studio and set up. Conditions were rough and amenities were few, but that was kind of the point - bands have been coming to this corner of Alabama for years to avoid distractions and focus on music. Here's more about the Muscle Shoals sound and the Black Keys experience there.
The music video was directed by Chris Marrs Piliero, and reprised a character he created for the original placeholder video for the band's song "Tighten Up": A puppet dinosaur named Frank. The clip shows Frank poolside being fawned over and fought over by a bevy of beautiful women. Scrolling along the bottom of the screen (in the Cooper Black font used on the album cover) is a message from the band declaring how much they hate the video ("The Black Keys feel the dinosaur puppet lip synching to their song is demeaning to the soul of their new record...").
According to Marrs Piliero, that message was real, and he's OK with it, since the video was intentionally dumb. Piliero also directed what became the official video for "Tighten Up," which the duo loved.