Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The White Stripes - The Albums

Jack White's solo album 'Blunderbuss' is out April 23rd.

It hardly seems like a year since the White Stripes announced that they would part ways. On an unofficial hiatus after the cancelling of their Icky Thump tour in 2007, Jack White (the lead vocalist and guitarist in the Detroit based duo) has since occupied his time with numerous other side bands and projects such as the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. Now, in the past month (and at the time almost a year to the day since the Stripes split), Jack has announced that he will pursue a solo career and his first solo album, entitled Blunderbuss, is to be released on April 23rd. Two tracks (Love Interruption and Machine Gun Silhouette) have been released on-line in order to promote the album.

So, in order to mark the date, I'm taking a look back at the Jack's amazing career and White Stripes' ground-breaking and incredible six-album discography in an attempt to rank them in some kind of order. The White Stripes have always been one of my favourite bands and their influence on music as a whole in the past decade has been immense. So where to start? Best not to ignore to Elephant in the room...


1) Elephant (2003)


Bringing out the big guns for album No. 4, I rank Elephant as the White Stripes best album. Big rock anthems and wailing guitars (Black Math, Hypnotize) screeching choirs (There's No Home For You Here), foot-stomping and pounding drums (Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button to Button) and soft, melodic tunes (In The Cold Cold Night), Elephant showed the Stripes have scope, scale and ambition.
A lot darker and moodier than anything that Jack and Meg had done before, Elephant is the most complete record the Stripes wrote.


2) Icky Thump (2007)


The sixth and final album from the Stripes was a return to the garage rock and blues music that was so familiar on their earlier releases. Now firmly established amongst music royalty, Jack and Meg's final record may not be as jittery as White Blood Cells or as experimental as Get Behind Me Satan, but what it does do, is effectively combine sounds and ideas from their earlier to make an album that is a ideal bookend to their careers, albeit not intentionally; the duo unexpectedly cancelled midway their Icky Thump tour and would never record together again.
3) White Blood Cells (2001) 


The record that really saw Jack and Meg take off, White Blood Cells is an energetic and red-blooded (pardon the pun) record. Thanks to the electrically charged single 'Fell In Love With A Girl" and the sing-a-long "Hotel Yorba", White Blood Cells is the Stripes answer to the increasingly bright media spotlight that had begun to hover over them.

My stand-out track is rosey-eyed and childlike love song 'We're Gonna Be Friends'.
4) Get Behind Me Satan (2005)


The Stripes fifth album is remembered as the most progressive and experimental the duo ever strayed. A departure from their usual blues roots, Get Behind Me Satan saw Jack and Meg introducing more melodic style, one not so guitar driven. Instruments such as the mandolin, piano and the marimba were all used by the duo.
Whilst this record doesn't have the big-hit rate like it's predecessors' did, I am very fond of the change in style. Tracks like Blue Orchid and The Denial Twist are both highlights for me.
5) The White Stripes (1999)


The White Stripes self-titled début best showcases their simplistic and do-it-yourself approach to writing and recording. Still starting out, the sound on this record is as raw and bluesy as Jack and Meg ever sounded.
Also, the tracks here are short and sweet, most around the two and a half minute mark, Stop Breaking Down, Sugar Never Tasted So Good and Astro most notably standing out for me.


6) De Stijl (2000)


Much like it's predecessor, De Stijl was still all about refining and finding a sound for Jack and Meg. It  follows in the same vein as their self-titled début by being hugely simplistic in it's production.
Not having the same hit-rate as Elephant or Icky Thump, it's established itself as something as a cult favourite as more and more fans, like myself, delve into and discover the Stripes earlier releases since their split this time last year.



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