Jack White – Blunderbuss
Reviewed by Meghan Player
“Jack White to release solo album”. The headline said it all really. Jack White – the man responsible for some of the greatest noise to come out of the late 90s, early 00s – was going solo.
As a fan of White’s previous endeavours – from the iconic White Stripes, to the Raconteurs, to the dirty, messy blues rock of The Dead Weather – the promise of a new musical project to sink my teeth into was, well, mind-blowing.
First off, let me explain what ‘Blunderbuss’ isn’t. It isn’t the White Stripes. It isn’t the Raconteurs. It isn’t the Dead Weather. This is Jack White at, arguably, his finest hour.
‘Sixteen Saltines’ retains the distorted noise that some would associate with the White of olde, but this feels new. The sound is bigger, the delivery is more aggressive, and the urge to get up out of your seat and air guitar your way through the track is undeniable.
What is most striking about the album, is the complete contrast of sounds throughout. If ‘Sixteen Saltines’ was White’s ‘in-your-face’, eardrum blowing track then ‘Love Interruption’ is his ‘take it down a notch’ track.
The simple, refined melody of the track is a beautiful contrast to the dark, intense lyrics throughout. ‘I want love to murder my own mother, send her off to somewhere, like hell or up above’ – is devilishly dark, but incredibly, resonates with the listener [albeit, not in a literal way].
‘Weep Themselves to Sleep’ is a frontrunner on an album of incredible tracks – with its infectious piano undertones and the short bursts of vocals being delivered by White. Whilst only a short track overall, once again, the lyrics are key to the imagery and emotion of the song: “No one can blow the shows, or throw the bones that break your nose like I can” – White hollers with profound intensity. This is Jack White at his best.
Never known to be a one trick pony, ‘I’m Shakin’’ sounds completely left field to the previous track – drawing on an early rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop, Motown vibe that would not have been considered out-of-place in the 50s. Once again, this is a complete testament to the versatility of White as an artist. His ability to tap into a sound that is as intriguing and interesting as his persona, is highly commendable.
Overall, ‘Blunderbuss’ is a formidable and astounding display from one of the most accomplished musicians of all time. White has once again managed to not only entertain the listener, but engage them with his undeniable command of melody and lyricism. Undoubtedly, this will be amongst the ‘Best Albums of 2012’.