Entertainment Magazine

Jack White’s Blunderbuss [9.4]

Posted on the 09 May 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie

Jack White Blunderbuss 608x608 550x550 JACK WHITES BLUNDERBUSS [9.4]

Regardless of how good Blunderbuss is, Jack White’s (@thirdmanrecords) name and past history as one of the world’s greatest living guitarists will be enough to earn the album plenty of ears and surrounding opinions. Given his over-a-decade long presence in popular music, it’s difficult to believe that this is actually his debut solo record. Blunderbuss, though, confirms what White’s audience has always been aware of: he’s an artist not interested in creating the newest sound on the scene, but in revitalizing classic music and injecting it with a new, electric energy.

While it doesn’t matter, Blunderbuss is really good. Opening with the wonderfully visual line of “I was in the shower, so I could not tell my nose was bleeding,” the album is full of impressive guitar work (duh) backed by real instruments and White’s blunt, glam-leaning vocals. With songs like the old-school, country-flavored “Blunderbuss” and the pure blues “Trash Tongue Talker”, White clearly hasn’t strayed from his dedication to American roots music. Plus, the memorable, crunchy guitar riff in “Sixteen Saltines” is reminiscent of White Stripes classic “Seven Nation Army”.

My favorite song is the excellent “Love Interruption” — I simply can’t get it out of my head. Complemented by Dusty Springfield-ish ornamentation on the keys, White sings verses about wanting love to be so overpowering it destroys you, but contradicts himself in the chorus by claiming that he “won’t let love disrupt, corrupt, or interrupt” him (a pretty genius alliteration of vowel sounds). The song fits in perfectly with the overarching theme of the album: love will tear you up inside in many conflicting ways, making you seem either more like your true self or more like a stranger. This concept is entirely appropriate given White’s recent divorce from supermodel turned singer Karen Elson, who sings backup on several tracks. “Love Interruption,” however, is a song White sings with Ruby Amanfu. While both their voices have a raw quality, Amanfu’s smooth, melismac tone contrasts with White’s sharp and distinct voice, adding again to the contrary subject matter of Blunderbuss.

The one possible criticism for Blunderbuss is only present subconsciously. Say what you will about Meg White’s drumming ability, but it gave the White Stripes’ sound an unnatural, syncopated rhythm that could only have been created by someone who didn’t really know what she was doing. Blunderbuss sees White working as a seasoned artist, with his pick of well-trained, technically proficient musicians. The result is undoubtedly sonically pleasing and full of musical mastery, but there’s perhaps a longing for the unique bit of amateur roughness that defined the White Stripes.

Is Blunderbuss the greatest thing that Jack White has ever done? I don’t think so. Will ever do? I certainly hope not. But it’s heaps better than what the majority of the industry is trying to pass off as real music these days. It’s an album that can transcend generations because it harkens back to a time when computers didn’t exist as musical instruments and because Jack White is eternally cool.


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