Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jack White: "Blunderbuss" (album review)

The most surprising thing about Blunderbuss, the debut solo release from Jack White, is that it took so long to arrive.  With the plethora of side projects he's been involved in since the White Stripes ran out of ideas (ie. after Get Behind Me Satan) you'd think he's have said 'screw it, I'm doing it myself', long before now.

The first impressions of "Sixteen Saltines" is made by a guitar part that sounds like a rank amateur (someone of say, my pathetic skill level) goofing around with their first effects pedal.  When the song gets revved up though, it turns into White's first true ass-kicker in quite some time.

White seems to put on his spurs and holster for "Trash Tongue Talker", a track that would sound at home in an olde timey wild west saloon.  His fingers frolic over the piano keys with the lilting "Hip Eponymous Poor Boy".

Rarely does my opinion of a song change with each and every listen, but that's what happens with "I'm Shakin'".  On one listen it sounds like a direct rip off of The Stray Cats.  On the very next I end up admiring the odd-but-inspired choice in backing vocals.

The lead track "Missing Pieces" offers up a recycled White Stripes arrangement that swaps synths for most of the guitar work.  In the title track White gives us a rather pedestrian piano number.  It's the start of a rut that repeats itself on several cuts, including "Hypocritical Kiss" and "Weep Themselves To Sleep".  "On and On and On" is a bland number you wish wouldn't carry on and on and on.

Lyrically, there are some classic Jack White moments.  The off-beat "Love Interruption" sets it to a fairly restrained backing.

Like most of his recent work, Blunderbuss is a polarizing piece.  There are a few masterful moments.  There are some atrocious ones.  And there is a whole lot of mishmash in between.  At least it's better than Icky Thump.

Best tracks: "Sixteen Saltines", "Hip Eponymous Poor Boy"

Track listing for Blunderbuss:
  • Missing Pieces
  • Sixteen Saltines
  • Freedom At 21
  • Love Interruption
  • Blunderbuss
  • Hypocritical Kiss
  • Weep Themselves To Sleep
  • I'm Shakin'
  • Trash Tongue Talker
  • Hip Eponymous Poor Boy
  • I Guess I Should Go To Sleep
  • On and On and On
  • Take Me With You When You Go


Anonymous said...

This review should come with the disclaimer: "I hate Jack White".

For the record, I'm Shakin' is a cover of an old Little Willie John song (by way of The Blasters) so I don't think he is ripping off The Stray Cats.

If you are going to claim Missing Pieces re-treads some old Stripes arrangement, maybe you could mention which song you are referring to.

And claiming Hypocritical Kiss is part of any "rut" just makes you an idiot.

Horrible review, this is one of the albums of the year. Maybe if jack made a straight up rockabilly record, he could win you over.

Unknown said...

I don't hate Jack White. I'm just bored of him.