Just over a year ago, The White Stripes informed the world that they were no longer making music together. As sad as it was then, I’ve come to a place of understanding and fulfillment. They didn’t leave us with a bad album (or any bad albums in general), and became one of the most loved duos of our time. Not to mention both Jack and Meg leaving us on a rather high note, with their live CD/DVD Under Great White Northern Lights. If you’re a White Stripes fan and haven’t seen Northern Lights, then I highly recommend that you find it somewhere.
But alas, good things come to an end. Not for Jack White though, as he still plays music with his side projects The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as producing songs for Electric Six and Insane Clown Posse (not kidding). But now, he is set to release his first solo album, Blunderbuss, which is sure to make fans of all his material happy.
The first two singles accurately shape the entire record. “Sixteen Saltines” is a rambuctious two minute jam that would get any passive White Stripe fan into this album. The second one is “Love Interuption;” the perfect anti-Valentines Day song. Jack croons lyrics asking love to do things like “murder my own mother/and take her off to somewhere/like hell or up above,” creating an awkward, yet completely understandable ballad. The title track is a nice sing-a-long concert closer, while “I’m Shakin'” deserves to be played on an Oldies radio station, while the guitar solo in the middle is asking to be on a past White Stripes album. “Trash Tongue Talker” brings out the growl in Jack’s voice, bringing probably the best vocal performance on this album.
One thing I have to ding the album for is being too slow and too meticulous. Besides “Sixteen Saltines,” there are not a whole lot of loud or fast songs that are included in this thirteen track release. Towards the end, the songs started walking at the same pace, making the last couple of songs feel longer than they actually are. Don’t get me wrong, I still sat down and enjoyed the album from start to finish, but I would’ve just loved some more tracks that got my blood pumping more often.
However, I went back to Blunderbuss and founding myself enjoying the album more than I originally did. That’s the thing about the album; it deserves multiple listenings. Each time I went through it, I found a new favorite song; each perpetually trumping the others. Jack reaches so many different emotional punches here that makes for a different listening experience depending on what kind of mood you’re in. So if didn’t quite enjoy it the first time through, don’t worry. If you let it sit long enough and come back to it, you’ll find yourself enjoying the album just a little bit more.
Overall, Blunderbuss is a very good start to Jack White’s solo career. I don’t know if he is going back to any of his other bands, but I don’t know if I’d want him to. He already has a distinct sound, a die hard fan base, and the creative control to do whatever he pleases; what more can you want? Well, besides being considered a legend – which I think he is on a one way road to that destination. It might take a while, but I have no doubts he’ll make it there, solo or not.
Final Grade: B+
Go Download: “Love Interruption,” “On And On And On”