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Critical Voices: Jack White Blunderbluss
With Blunderbluss, his first solo release, Jack White decided to bring it all back home. Moody yet serene, the album conjures images of The Who, which will probably appeal to die-hard fans of The Black Keys, and though the sound is sometimes smoky, it will not leave you coughing. Instead, guitar rock mogul White has released an album that can be appreciated by devout followers of his namesake band, as well as a newer, unfamiliar crowd.
Starting like a jazz piece, album opener “Missing Pieces” has a more syncopated beat than any of his previous work, but still has the bounce present throughout Icky Thump. The following tracks feature metallic acoustics, lustrous piano complementing guitars, and even reprise some of the Americana tones he hinted at in the latest White Stripes release. Having already performed the crunchy single “Sixteen Saltines” on Saturday Night Live nearly two months ago, many believe that Jack has reverted to the classic distortion of his earlier days. However, this album demonstrates that he is willing not only to bring those sounds back, but also to capitalize on a more mature aesthetic.
“Weep Themselves to Sleep” begins as if it were straight off Who’s Next, but kicks into the verse as though it were a sneaker-wearing Tom Petty jam. Homages are a necessity for White, but he always manages to formulate his own particular style with his one-of-a-kind squeaky voice, unrivaled chord progression, and head-turning lyrics. Though not really reminiscent of middle school-emo “Love Interruption,” the second single off Blunderbuss, opens with the morbid words, “I want love to: roll me over slowly, stick a knife inside me, and twist it all around.”
Jack White boarded the crazy train in recent years with his downright weird group The Dead Weather, which came right off his stint with The Raconteurs, where he gained moderate indie success outside of his more famous group. He has certainly moved in and out of grooves, but always manages to keep a definite strand of the blues, which he employs in full form on Blunderbuss. Jack will also have credibility with die-hard fans, not through name alone, but by conjuring enough thrashy guitar and obsessive lyrics to satisfy those still blasting “Fell In Love With a Girl” on their Walkmen.
Voice’s Choices: “Sixteen Saltines,” “Trash Tongue Talker”