The White Stripes

Icky Thump – The White Stripes

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 9/10

It’s been eight years since the White Stripes released what would be their final album back in 2007. And they couldn’t ask for a better way to say goodbye. Going back to their garage rock blues infused sound they left behind for Get Behind me Satan, the band rips, roars, and tears through 13 tracks that provide more of the insane riffage fans clamored for. Surprisingly, it’s also their most fun album in their discography and this comes out on most of the tracks.

The album kicks off with the wonderfully weird “Icky Thump.” Jack White takes us into this weird take of a tryst in Mexico with a cry of “Iiiee! Icky thump, who’d thunk/sittin’ drunk on a wagon to Mexico!” The music is kind of all over the place with the odd squealing keys and scratchy guitar solos bouncing around the song. You’ll notice there actually isn’t a chorus; instead the keys and guitars take its place giving it the White Stripes signature. Another thing savvy fans will notice are the references to the band’s staples like red head women and candy canes. The whole thing is full of energy and lots of fun. Things get more mellow on “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Do What You’re Told)” where Jack criticizes someone for letting other walk over them in a relationship. Even though it has this bluesy, country twang to it, it kind of sounds like a church hymn with the swelling organ. Still it’s classic White Stripes all the way.

Jack White said the connecting theme for the album is positivity and being happy. It may not be in every song, like “Martyr for My Love,” but many of them follow this thought. The most fun and upbeat track is “Rag and Bone,” which finds the duo as junkers looking for anything people don’t want. The Blues tinged song is has a jumpy rhythm that gets you moving. Between the verses, Meg and Jack provide spoken parts convincing people to give them stuff. Jack sounds like a Southern door to door salesmen, while Meg just sounds creepy as she whispers “give it to me.” Another fun track is “Conquest,” a Corky Robbins cover, that takes the classic Mexican stand-off rhythm and recreates it with a gritty guitar. The Latin flavor is kept in with the brassy horns that blare during the hook. There’s even a great part where the guitar and horns play off each other during the bridge. Even Jack’s singing is great; he sounds determined as he wails “Connnnonnnnquest!” You can tell he enjoyed recording the track, especially since he’s been wanting to cover it for 10 years.

For the most part, the album acts a return to the band’s garage rock/punk roots. Their previous effort was all about experimentation while this one has that comforting sense of familiarity. “Bone Broke” will take fans back to band’s first few LPs with the searing raw riffs, crashing chaotic music, and unchained vocals. “Little Cream Soda” is another old school throwback since it’s a re-recording of an older Stripes song. Jack completely let’s himself go on this track as he scares out scream and squeals from his guitar. Playing with the loud/quiet dynamic, the music during the verses sneaks along, fit for a spy theme. The way he lets those notes fly will leave you in awe; it’s that crazy good. “Catch Hell Blues” is very similar to tracks like “Aluminum” and “Instinct Blues” where the music does the talking. There are lyrics, but it’s the guitar playing listeners will be captivated by. You have to hear it for yourself to understand why it’ll leave your jaw on the floor.

The only time the band gets experimental here is on “Prickly Thorn, Sweetly Worn,” which is patterned after an Irish hymn. It features a weezing bag pipe along with a light guitar. The bouncing nature of the song makes it seem like some Irish jigs should be going on at the same time. It’s pretty odd for the band, how many bands do you know of that use bag pipes, but the chant of “Li de li de li oh” makes it catchy. I remember in an interview Jack said it was about exploring their Irish roots, but it’s just another tall tale he attributes to the band.

I’m Slowly Turning Into You” has always been one of my favorite tracks from the album. It’s sneering, snotty, and full of frustration as Jack sings “But your face is getting older/so put your head on my shoulder.” The verse gets more scathing as he points out how everything his lover does is annoying. Then we get that raw, sexy riff right before the chorus that makes your spine twitch. And the swelling keys emphasize the angry mood of the song. But it’s not all bad as during the second half of the song, Jack realizes it’s not so bad after all. I’ve just always loved the mood and music of this track, especially because it’s pretty playful. The album ends with the country jam “Effect and Cause,” which foreshadows the direction of Jack’s solo material. The twanging guitars, the down home raw vibe of the song makes it sound like a classic country tune complete with a bluegrass banjo. It’s not how you expect the album to end, but it provides a look at what Jack would do later on.

The album is really great, not just because the band returns to their garage rock roots. A big part of it is because the songs are so much fun and many of them are upbeat. Jack wanted the record to be about positivity and he succeeded on a number of the tracks. At the time, we didn’t know it would be the band’s last, but it’s very fitting. It shows why so many people fell in love with The White Stripes and even returns to the Blues style that made them famous. Sure, it would be great to hear from the duo again some day, but at least we were left with one of their best albums.

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Playlist: Seeing Double

After being with one band for a while, some musicians are itching to do something different. Rather than getting experimental and releasing it under their established outfit, some prefer to form new bands altogether. Most of the time these side bands are not very impressive and very rarely do they outshine the core band. But if done well, a side band can at least separate itself from their well known work. There are tons of these groups out there, but there are only a few that do their best to differentiate themselves from the core band. I know I missed a lot of groups out there (let me know which ones in the comments), but here are some of my favorite songs from these great and interesting side bands.

“Level” – The Racounteurs

Sometimes it feels like Jack White is in a new band every other week. While in the highly successful White Stripes, he recruited Brenden Benson and other musicians to form this rag tag and gritty group. Though the music is still filled with White’s impressive and innovative guitar playing, the overall feel of the band is rougher and harsher than The White Stripes. The music takes on more of a folk rock feel while still incorporating elements of blues and alternative rock. This is one of the best cuts from their debut album. It finds White and Benson sharing vocal duty leaving lots of room for complex guitar solos. The band would go on to release one more album before going on hiatus. Truth be told, we probably won’t see anymore new music from the group considering White’s successful solo career and his work with The Dead Weather.

“Standing There” – The Creatures

Siouxsie and the Banshees were never afraid to play around with their sound, but this side project featuring Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie was spontaneous. You never knew what type of song they were going to do next. As this track shows, the band was also more in tune with their animal nature. A lot of the sounds and images used in their songs made listeners get in touch with their primal instincts. It’s no surprise since Sioux and Budgie were dating at the time. “Standing There” has vibrant horns, giving it a swing feel, and tribal like percussion that booms throughout the track. The catchiness of the chorus and the Latin dancing featured in the video will make you grab a flamenco skirt and clap fiercely with Siouxsie Sioux. The Creatures would go on to release a total of three albums, but this remains one of their best songs.

“When Your Heart Stops Beating” – +44

The nasty “hiatus” of Blink-182 resulted in two bands from founders Mark and Tom: Angels and Airwaves and +44. While Tom’s band was trying to change the world and the face of music, +44 just wanted to rock out. Consisting of Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, Shane Gallagher, and Craig Fairbaugh, the short lived band released their debut in 2006 with the following song as their lead single. The track is catchy, full of energy, and just puts you in a good mood. It’s not drastically different from what the guys would do in Blink, but it managed to satisfy heartbroken fans. The album did fairly well, but couldn’t match the success of Hoppus’ previous band. It’s a shame because the LP is actually really good filled with irresistible pop punk. They may not have strayed too far from the working formula, but the result was still upbeat and a lot of fun to listen to. Hopefully, there’ll be more music from them in the future.

“I Feel So” – Box Car Racer

This is yet another offshoot of Blink-182. Formed shortly after the release of their fourth album, this band featuring Tom Delonge and Travis Barker went for a heavier sound and drew a lot of influences from punk rock. The album explored dark and serious issues while chugging guitars and lots of distortion played in the background. This single doesn’t featured Delonge’s best writing, but the intense guitars and simple chorus give it a punch. Anyone who listened to this album should not have been surprised when Blink changed their direction for their self titled release. The band was moderately successful, but only released one album. While it was decent it didn’t do much in the alternative rock scene, but it is a lot better than Delonge’s current side band. Some may even say this project began Blink’s downfall since Mark Hoppus was upset he was not part of it.

“Snuff on Digital” – Blaqk Audio

Some side bands have issues making themselves distinct from the core band. This is not the case with Blaqk Audio. Featuring Davey Havok and Jade Puget from punk outfit AFI, this project finds the guys trading in distorted guitars for keyboards. The music here is strictly electronic and synth based with some elements of dark and new wave. Rather than moshing, this music will make you want to dance. Some of it makes you think of the ’80s while others are reminiscent of ’90s techno. Even though it’s a different genre Havok keeps his haunting lyrics in tact. This track is one of the most upbeat and infectious from their debut album Cexcells. Since they released a sophomore LP in 2012 there’s a good chance we’ll hear more music from them in the future.

“Clint Eastwood” – Gorillaz

The Gorillaz are so popular and well known it’s easy to forget they’re an offshoot of Blur. Whereas Blur were the finest example of Britpop, the Gorillaz were all over the place in terms of genre. With elements of hip-hop, pop, electronic, funk, and soul it’s hard to pin them down. Their debut single named after the iconic actor remains one of their best songs. Though Del the Funky Homosapien laid down the rhymes, Damn Albarn’s cryptic singing during lines like “I’ve got sunshine/in a bag” are the most memorable.

“Kamikaze” – Plastic Visions

This band features Brad Shultz of Cage the Elephant and his cousin Kane Stewart; truly a family affair. Cage the Elephant are known for their brash, wild sound and some of that is present on this project. What makes it different is the fusion of punk, noise rock, and surf rock to create their fuzzy, rough sound. This track is the first off their EP and features unchained vocals (similar to Matt Shultz) and scratchy guitars that sound like static. The short, punchy songs are full of energy with this track being one of their finest. Though they’ve only started, hopefully we can expect a full length album from them in the near future.

“Spike” – The Network

When Billie, Mike, and Tre aren’t running around with Green Day they have several musical projects to turn to. One of them is the weird, punk, and electro inspired band The Network. Though the guys tried their best to say they weren’t in the band it’s hard to deny once you hear Billie’s distinct vocals. Rather than their stadium pop-punk, the guys go new wave with lots of synth and odd songs involving lots of sex and drugs. This is one of the best songs from their sole album because it maps out the sad and humorous journey of a junkie trying to score. The track is interesting because there’s very little singing involved. It’s pretty much Spike having a phone conversation with the occasional “I need a fix” for the chorus. It’s a cool idea that the band manages to pull off. Also, I love the way Billie says “La Jolla.” Guess that’s my inner fangirl coming out.

“Punish Me with Kisses” – The Glove

This project is the brainchild of The Cure’s Robert Smith and Steve Severin of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Surprisingly, it features Jeanette Landray, not Smith,  on vocals. At the time, Smith said it was because he wanted more of a background position, but many speculate it was intervention from the label. Still, it’s easy to tell Smith is involved with the project. Though the band managed to get more bluesy and trippy at times, the flourishing keys and dreamy lyrics all sound so similar to The Cure. The frontman even did vocals for the entire album, but they can only be found on the re-release of their album. Landray does a decent job, but Smith’s vocals are the best.

“At Your Funeral” – Pinhead Gunpowder

This band originally formed in the early ’90s and features both Billie Joe Armstrong and Jason White. Though they’ve been around for a while, since two of the members are in Green Day they’ve released very few albums. Unlike their other side projects, this one has a very brash, classic punk rock sound mixed with raw garage rock. Still, it’s hard to miss Billie’s distinct vocals, especially since he gives everything a melodic tone. This track is a personal favorite. It’s rude, snotty, and cynical like so many of Green Day’s best songs. It may be short, but it’s to the point. You can’t miss the snarl as Armstrong sings “At your funeral/Things will be different/I will feel so good.” If you want to get into the band, then this is the best song to start with.

“38” – Revolting Cocks

Featuring Al Jourgensen, Richard 23, and Luc Van Acker, plus a long list of revolving players, this industrial band shares many similarities with Jourgensen’s band Ministry. The above song sounds like something from the band’s earlier efforts. They don’t shy away from the industrial genre, but they also delves into alternative and metal with a hint of psychedelia. Whereas as Ministry was a serious outfit touching on political issues, RC is more self aware and includes a lot of humor and risque topics in their songs. This track is from their debut Big Sexy Land and sports more attitude and less parody than their later material.

“Outsider” – A Perfect Circle

I’ve always preferred this group over the core band Tool. While there are some similarities between the two, this outfit focuses more on alternative and prog rock along with psychedelic influences for an ethereal and haunting sound. Instead of bringing on a heavy mood Maynard Keenan and co keep things on the mellow side, though as this song show things can get intense. While they’ve done some amazing covers of “Imagine” and “Let’s Have a War,” this single shows off their blended sound and will be the most appealing to Tool fans.

“Lies of the Beautiful People” – Sixx AM

While Niki Sixx will always be known for his work in Motley Crue, he has a successful career with his band Sixx AM. With a heavier sound and more thoughtful lyrics than the Crue ever had, Sixx AM deals with issues of beauty, drugs, and addiction. A lot of the material stems from Sixx’s past as a heroine addict. Their debut album was even named after his autobiography The Heroin Diaries. “Lies of the Beautiful People” features the guitarist’s signature riffs and fiery playing style, paired with James Michael the strong and passionate vocals. Talking about the obsession with beauty, the video is a gruesome look at what some will do to meet society’s standards.

“Stop Drop and Roll!!!” – Foxboro Hot Tubs

Yet another side project of Green Day. Whereas the Network focused on new wave, this band has more of a rockabilly vibe with hints of surf rock and psychedelic. With their raw sound they feel like a garage band from the ’60s. The guys cut loose here as Billie takes on the sleazy persona of The Reverend, who howls in just about every song. The band is notable because it sounds nothing like Green Day, which isn’t an easy feat for most side bands. The title track from their solid debut album shows off the vintage, dirty, and sleazy vibe of the music. Since their first album was so promising, hopefully we’ll get some new music from them in the future.

Get Behind Me Satan- The White Stripes

Get_Behind_Me_SatanRelease Year: 2005

Rating: 8/10

White Stripes fans weren’t prepared for what Jack White had up his sleeve for this 2005 release. Just when we were getting used to the band’s blues and garage rock driven sound, they put out an album where it’s almost entirely absent. There are moments when you think this isn’t a White Stripes album at all, rather some strange, experimental songs put together by Jack with some of them having traces of the popular band. Even if this is true, the album still comes off very well, even if you have to set it aside and let the whole thing grow on you.

Jack White has always played around with various sounds and playing piano on the past albums, but it completely takes over here. You suspect this album won’t be like their others from the opener “Blue Orchid.” Even though there are awesome riffs, there’s something about the song that’s different. It’s a bit darker for sure and it sounds like straight up rock and roll more than anything else, but the change doesn’t seem so drastic. That is until you get to “The Nurse.”

I used to hate this song only because the music is so disjointed on the entire thing. It begins with a marimba that gives off this tropical feel at times, like something you should be hearing while sitting on a beach. After awhile a short guitar riff will violently play, but what throws you off is it always plays at different beats. It’s not steady and it’s hard to keep track of if you don’t know the song well. But after awhile it begins to grows on you; even I’ve come around to it. It’s now one of the most enjoyable White Stripes songs for me.

The sonic experiments don’t stop there. Another song that sounds like nothing else the band has ever done is “Little Ghost.” In short, it’s a backwoods country song that talks about falling in love with a ghost. Now it doesn’t seem like such a big deal because Jack has done country inspired songs both on his own and with The Raconteurs, but at the time it was the weirdest thing ever to come from the musician. This was another song I truly hated and while I still don’t listen to it, I can appreciate it a little more. There are also songs where changes are as simple as taking away key instruments. There are few songs here where it’s only Jack and a piano and they’re really quite stunning.

One of the most interesting tracks here is “White Moon,” which features mainly piano and some light drumming from Meg. But what makes it so intriguing are the lyrics that constantly refer to classic Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth. The song is rumored to be about bad past relationships and his obsession with the actress. Many also speculate that it’s actually about ex-wife Meg White. It’s not that far fetched especially when you consider the last seen in Under the Great White Northern Lights, where Jack and Meg are sitting at a piano, while this song plays. By the end, Meg has broken out into tears. No matter what it’s actually about it’s still a heartbreaking song.

The closest you’ll get to the classic Stripes sound is on “Instinct Blues” and “Red Rain.” The former song has a similar format to their older song “Aluminum:” while there are lyrics, it really shows off Jack’s guitar skills. As the title suggests, there is a hint of blues here, but it’s rock music that mainly takes over the distorted, raw riff. “Red Rain” on the other hand has zero blues influence, but is more tuned to their garage rock roots. The riff is intense and also the most brutal and aggressive thing heard on the record so far. There are more hints of their sound on songs like “The Denial Twist” and “Take Take Take,” which is another track centered on Rita Hayworth, but otherwise it’s as if they were trying to reinvent the band.

The record as a whole has this air of mystery to it; a lot of the songs are drastically different from what the band had down previously, but also a lot of the songs are difficult to figure out. Songs like “Passive Manipulation” and “Blue Orchid” have these ambiguous lyrics that make the listener sit and think about the meaning if they so choose to. The White Stripes have always been enigmatic, but they push it even further with this album. In a way it makes the entire experience more interesting because it allows the listener to apply their own meaning to the tracks. Besides, isn’t that the fun of music?

Overall, the album gets 8/10. While I don’t think it’s their best album, it’s definitely their most intriguing. This is where the band tosses away their previous blues and garage rock influences and embrace different instruments and sounds. It may take a while for the record to grow on you, but over time you appreciate it. Also, it seems that the album has aged extremely well; it just gets better over time. Its a record like this that shows why The White Stripes were and still are one of the most loved bands around.

Elephant- The White Stripes

Elephant,_The_White_StripesRelease Year: 2003

Rating: 9.5/10

This is often considered the greatest White Stripes record and considering that this is their major label debut which made them critical darlings of the music scene, it’s hard to disagree. While their previous album helped the band get more attention by mainstream media, this album completely launched them full force into it. Almost completely abandoning their Blues roots and borrowing more from garage rock influences, this release is probably the easiest to pick up listen to. And as usual, it shows off Jack’s insane musical skills.

Of course, the album opens with the one White Stripes song everyone knows: “Seven Nation Army.” I have no idea what this song is about, but I know that the title comes from what Jack used to call the Salvation Army as a kid. But it doesn’t matter what the song is about because the riff is where its at. It’s the simplest thing Jack could play, yet it’s so awesome. The low key riff that isn’t provided by a bass really gives the song this dangerous tone, like something bad is about to happen. It’s crazy to think that the riff is the same thing over and over until the break where he makes it a little more intricate. It’s an amazing song that is one of the band’s best.

“Black Math” is another great song with a notable guitar riff. In fact, the jumping, playful riff is what makes the song so energetic and fun. The song also has this interesting school/math motif, but I guess it makes sense with the title. Also, there’s a little more of a Blues sound found here, but unlike some of their songs in the past, it doesn’t take over here. Things get pretty cold with the next track “There’s No Home For You Here.” Jack sounds harsh and mean as he screams “There’s no home for you here girl, go away.” As for the sound, it has an increasing volume effect: it’s hush during the verses with Jack singing louder and louder as he gets closer to the chorus and when the chorus hits everything gets louder. During one of these moments everything stops except for White singing “Ahh” and feedback humming in the background. It’s really stirring and alarming.

Just like other White Stripes albums, all the songs here are awesome. White cooly covers the Tommy Hunt song “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself,” that finds the singer sounding heartbroken lamenting how he can’t have any fun over a riff that dances between loud and quiet. “In the Cold, Cold Night” has Meg take over on vocals and while she doesn’t have a fantastic voice, her mellow singing works very well for the cool sounding song. A very calming guitar riff plays throughout and it sounds like it’s sneaking throughout the song. You can actually picture someone tip-toeing while this plays. Another great song is “I Want to Be the Boy that Warms Your Mother’s Heart.”

I didn’t always like this song, but after giving it another chance and actually paying attention to the lyrics, I think it’s one of the best on the record. It’s a mix of piano and guitar that sounds similar to the music on “This Protector,” but it’s the story that really grabs you. The lyrics describe a boy who can’t understand why his girlfriend’s mother doesn’t give him the time of day. My favorite line from the song and one that sums it up nicely is when Jack sings “We’ve been sitting in your back yard for hours/But she won’t even come out and say hi/While my mother baked a little cake for you/and even dreaded when you said goodbye.” It’s kind of a cute song that shows it’s not all wild and crazy with the band.

As I mentioned earlier, this album almost completely gets rid of the Blues sound found on just about all of the band’s albums. It can still be heard on some songs and it takes over the jam filled track “Ball and Biscuit,” but the other songs have more of a garage rock sound. You can hear it on tracks like “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Little Acorns.” But there are also classic psychedelic influences coming into play. “Hypnotize” is the perfect example of the vintage 60’s sound thanks to the hyper guitar riff. Another song with this sound is “You Have No Faith in Medicine.”

This song is utter chaos with Jack hollering and playing with his vocals over the wild riff. More of the psychedelic sound is found here. When you hear you actually picture go-go dancers wiggling around in cages with white boots. It’s a crazy to let loose to and one that needs more attention. Though all the songs are great, there is one that I find really weird and not as good as the others.

The closing track “Well It’s True that We Love One Another” doesn’t sound like any of the songs here. There’s no rock or blues; it’s just straight up country. Everything from the melody, to the guitar riff, even to the vocal style has the country sound and feel. This doesn’t make the song bad; it’s just not my style of music. If anything, it shows off the diversity of the band and how they don’t want to be placed in a neat little box. What makes the song really weird are the lyrics.

Singer Holly Golightly sings how she “loves Jack White like a little brother,” but then she questions whether or not Jack actually loves her. She even goes as far as asking Meg about the matter. To me this makes the situation even weirder considering Meg and Jack used to be married. It just sounds like an awkward moment waiting to happen. Either, it’s interesting song for the band that shows they’re not afraid experimenting with different styles.

Overall, the album gets 9.5/10. Though this record finds the band moving even further away from their Blues roots, they make up for by letting through their garage rock influences. There are also small moments where they play around with different genres of music to show off their diversity. The songs are amazing with some of their best and most well known here. All of their albums are great, but this is definitely the one they will continue to be known for.

White Blood Cells- The White Stripes

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 10/10

Jack White has found immense success this year with his first solo album, but it’s the White Stripes’ third album that makes me miss the band so much. This is probably their best release. It’s full of great and memorable songs, plus there isn’t a dull moment to be found. This is the album that put the band in the spotlight and for a good reason too; it’s damn good.

There are so many great songs here that it’s hard not to talk about all of them. There’s something awesome about every track, whether it’s the killer guitar work or the somber lyrics. The album opens with one of my most favorite White Stripes songs “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” I think what makes the song so great is the riff. It’s in your face with it’s dirty, grungy sound and it just won’t quit. It really makes the song. The lyrics are awesome too. I feel that they’re odd, yet quirky. For some reason I especially like the line “If you can hear a piano fall, you can hear me coming down the hall.” It’s an interesting way to say I know you can hear me coming.

The next song is one I was never a huge fan of. “Hotel Yorba” has a country vibe with it’s twang of the guitar and feels like a giddy good time. I don’t know why I was never a fan of the song, but the more you try to dislike the song, the more you can’t resist it. It’s just so damn catchy that you’ll eventually catch yourself singing it. It’s definitely one of those songs where you gather your friends to sing along with you. It feels like it should be sung around a campfire. After listening to it again, I realize it’s not as bad as I once thought. It’s just not something I can listen to on a regular basis.

One song that can’t be ignored is the awesome “Fell in Love with a Girl.” Clocking in at one minute, it blazes by with it’s energetic, dirty guitar riff. You get so wrapped up in the music you never realize the song is about finding another lover. It has a great punk rock vibe with how fast the song is. It’s one of the best on the album and the only time Jack White seems to let loose here. Another song that’s really great and under a minute is the stripped down “Little Room.” What makes this song so great is that it’s just Jack’s singing and Meg’s drumming. There’s no guitar at all. It’s interesting how Jack’s lyrics and the way he’s singing provides the rest of the music.

Another song that is a favorite of mine is “The Union Forever.” It begins with this slow, drawn out riff where you can envision every note and string Jack is plucking. When the drums and the rest of the music comes in the song gets this creepy vibe. The way the background music hums along reminds me of something that should be playing in a black and white horror movie. Jack adds to the feeling by sounding bitter and cynical when singing. One really great part here is when all the music stops expect for Meg’s drumsticks clacking together with Jack singing. It has this unexpected stark sound that’s really cool.

One thing that long time White Stripes fans may notice about the album is it’s lacking in Blues sound and influence. This is one thing the band is known for and it’s a surprise that they shy away from it here. The music is more guitar and piano focused, making the sound more along the lines of garage and classic rock. Some songs like “We’re Going to Be Friends” have a folk music style. But no matter how hard the band tries, some Blues seems to slip into the songs. Maybe it’s just me, but “Expecting” seems to have a slight hint of the genre. Maybe it’s the hard guitar riff or the negative connotation of the song, but it definitely reminds me of the music they love so much.

The songs on the album deal with the topics of love, paranoia, heartache, and betrayal. Because of this the album seems to have more of a somber sound than their past ones. Yes, “Hotel Yorba” and “Fell in Love with a Girl” are very upbeat, but they’re about the only ones that are. Songs like “I Can’t Wait” and “I’m Finding it Harder to Be a Gentleman Everyday” seem to have unhappy topics, but they also have a darker sound. The riffs are just slower and more somber than before, which is another thing that is different about the music. The guitar riffs are not as wild and unchained as they have been in the past. Only one of the songs makes you want to jump around the room, the rest of them are on the slow side of things. And even though some of the songs may have more positive topics, the lyrics and the mood of the song still give off a bad feeling. “We’re going to be Friends” actually reminds me of that one friend you make in grammar school and you never spend any time apart. You hope to be friends forever, but it doesn’t last.

Overall, the album gets 10/10. It’s the band’s best work. It has awesome songs with kick ass guitar work as always. It may shy away from the blues sound Jack and Meg are well known for, but it makes up for it with the guitar and piano taking over. There are some songs that aren’t as good as the others, but even these are pretty great. This is the album the band will be remembered for years and years later. It’s still upsetting that we’ve lost one of the best rock bands in recent history, but hopefully Jack White will continue excellent music in the future.

Don’t forget to check out the De Stijl review while you’re here!