Jack White – Blunderbuss (2012) — 8.5/10   Leave a comment

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If you couldn’t tell by now, the numbers for ratings are relatively arbitrary. But I do mean them.

Background:

You’ve all heard of The White Stripes, right? Or The Raconteurs? The Dead Weather? Well, Jack White was a pivotal member of these three bands, and has a distinctive driving sound to his vocals and guitar work that’s almost instantly recognizable. He’s been going through a bit of a tough time lately, though, and from that stems the material laid out on this album, something totally different from that which he’s done before.

The album:

We are brought in by a very simple electric piano riff that becomes “Missing Pieces”–a song about a lover who left, or so I gathered, anyway. I’m not sure if it’s any objective quality about the song or just my fascination with the sound of an electric piano that’s making that opener among my favorites by Jack ever.

The song ends rather abruptly, and we’re taken out of the nigh-synthy haze by a jarring electric riff: DU-NU-NU-NUH, DU-NU-NU-NUH. “Sixteen Saltines” is a beautiful song, one that morphs, one that shifts, but one that manages to remain coherent and cohesive. Also, it’s one that causes me to type “DU-NU-NU-NUH” like an idiot.

Then, as one spirals through the album’s meat and potatoes, a question bubbles to the front of one’s mind: just what in the hell is Jack, that grandmaster of garage, that king of crunch, doing? Why, he’s doing what any sane man does in a break-up–he uses his Mixolydian VII chords and writes a folk song or two. Or ten. Or just under ten, as the second half of the album has him experimenting in weird places.

But I’m not Rolling Stone, nor do I wish to resemble them. I’m not at all averse to this. Jack White is exploring some really neat stuff in this album, from something coming out of a musical (“On and On and On”) to acoustic anthems (“Blunderbuss”, the title track). Jack, I don’t care what you do with your guitar, just as long as you do it well.

Let me tell you, you do it fantastically. This album isn’t my idea of a perfect album; that is to say, it’s not Graceland, or Abbey Road, or Secret Treaties, but there is definitely cohesion, and there isn’t a song I hate on this LP.

I give it an 8.5 out of 10 for being awesome. If you’ve heard The White Stripes, listen to this album. If you haven’t, still listen to this album and smack yourself for never even having heard “Seven Nation Army”, find the nearest available way to listen to Elephant and relax for a day. Blunderbuss is no blunder.

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Posted August 4, 2012 by farglenargle in Uncategorized

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