I was late to The White Stripes party. Dark places don’t have music. White Stripes happened in my time vacuum. They came into my world like awakening from being under anesthesia, the space between two heartbeats filled with so much sound and sensation it’s dizzying, frightening and exhilarating all at once. Jack White has always been like that for me. I could watch him for hours, his face both delicately pretty and viciously masculine, genius and madness, ordinary guy you’ve overlooked for decades and some wondrous creature from another planet. When I spotted this month’s Interview with Jack White on the cover I realized that the look wasn’t original, it was the same one Robert Smith of The Cure had been wearing since the 1970’s and the one Johnny Depp sported in Edward Scissorhands, and neither of them appealed much to me, but Jack on the other hand…
Blunderbuss is the beautiful chaos you’ve come to expect from Jack. Each song is a world in itself, with a different feel, style and sound. I’ve gone back and forth debating whether there is a ‘theme’ to the album. Pain, love, loss, aren’t these universal themes though? Jack’s frenetic stream of consciousness lyrical poetry is here, it’s just so much more refined. The evolution from deconstructed music to layered production is the evolution of Jack White himself. Same guy, just more instruments and more people to play with. All the influences, the musicians, the styles… Nashville has been good to him professionally. Personally though, his relationship roller coaster of emotional highs and lows are all splayed out too. Rather than it feeling voyeuristic though, he manages to give us all something we can relate to. Something tart and stinging but ultimately leaves you hopeful.
Upstairs, upstaged and upset
Keeping quiet is probably my best bet yet
‘Cause I ain’t managed to say the right thing yet
Well, I guess I should go back to bed
My favorite track is still Love Interruption, beautiful, melancholy and vicious, just like love. The idea of two distinct sounds, two different bands is jaw-droppingly simple and brilliant. How else to keep the music engaging for the audience (and the performers while on tour)? I hope someone is filming a documentary, I’d love to see it. Leaving my mortgage-paying job to follow Jack White on tour for the sheer experience of it is sadly something ‘adult me’ can’t do. If Love Interruption is the showcase for his female band, then Sixteen Saltines> is the perfect counterpoint, featuring his male band. Lest you think the ladies can’t rock live, I submit for your approval Freedom at 21, which is quickly becoming my new favorite from the album. You can feel the Led Zeppelin influence on that track in particular.
Jack White loves the blues, and every time he makes music I’m intrigued to see how it manifests itself. Sometimes it’s subtle and other times it’s joyously obvious. I’m Shakin’ is a song that defies you to sit while listening to it, a song that could have been written in 1958. The video is one of the reasons I love our wired world, the experience we have all had, playing air guitar (or bass) while dancing around in our bedroom is universal. I Guess I Should Go To Sleep is another wonderful blues song on the record, with a pianos that boggle my mind.