Jack White may be this generation’s definitive and greatest rock star. The pioneer really did music a favour for the rock ages when he, and Meg, formed the legendary White Stripes and gave the new millennium the good ole days of rock, and rolled to success. It may not seem like long since they first came onto our scenes dressed in red and white, but since then they’ve changed music for the better.
From taking modern rock’s sound back to the golden age of the 60s and keeping everything original by recording without the use of computers, the White’s Seven Nation Army of talent took modern rock away from the corny and gave it a cooler sound. Classy, and hallmark to the past, the Stripes pushed the envelope, opened doors and kept a foot in for like-minded bands like The Strokes and The Hives.
If that wasn’t enough of a musical revolution, from Fell In Love With A Girl to Icky Thump, the group kept the classic records playing. The house that Jack built had plenty of rooms for more acts too, and the singers’ side projects were more than just extra-curricula activities. The Raconteurs showed with just two albums that they were a serious band themselves and the dark, Kills led, The Dead Weather, were just too cool. From the leather jackets to the dark shines of their tone and style, they were more than just slick. Jack even found time to record a bold, brilliant Bond theme with soul superstar Alicia Keys and form his own record label (Third Man Records) signing seriously sensational acts like Seasick Steve.
It’s on this record label that white releases his first solo album Blunderbuss, one of the most-anticipated releases of 2012 and the first album since The White Stripes split early last year. It’s a musical tragedy that the band are no more, but even without his Jill, Jack is more than all right. There’s no blunders here. The dark-toned, but laid-back, first single Love Interruption and the sublime second Sixteen Saltiness showed us this, and the rest of the album carries on in the same strength with no hindrance.
This album’s even darker than the promotional press photos for it — of Jack standing in a bathroom with a cut-throat razor — but still it’s delightful and a slice above the crop of rock competition that still can’t mess with the best. Even after a band break-up and another divorce, Jack is the one climbing the musical hill, whilst everyone else sounds like damaged goods or broken records.
The sound of music begins with the complete Missing Pieces, the singles and the lyrical growth and expanse of Freedom at 21. When the album reaches its self-titled Blunderbuss track, the tone, energy and quality of the album steps up to an even greater notch and it doesn’t skip a beat or track until the last second has counted down on the last track. Hypocritical Kiss is classic White, from the drums to the perfect piano licks. This song was produced to last like Rolling Stone lips T-shirts.
Weep Themselves To Sleep and I Guess I Should Go to Sleep lulls us further towards Jack, as the former bandsman shows his great rock legacy won’t rest just like R.E.M. I’m Shakin‘ brings the beat up a little, while the blusey Trash Tongue Talker shakes things up further. Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is classic, On and On and On epic and Take Me with You When You Go the perfect closer to the right opening to the new doors of this solo singer’s second career. At the start of this album you may think its not the same without Meg, but after the middle portion of this set makes this album truly great, by the finale you’ll come to see here, and here on out, that it all begins and ends with Jack.
You can stream Blunderbuss in its entirety on itunes now.