Spotify Listen Link: Jack White – Blunderbuss
2013 Grammy Nominations:
- Album of the Year
- Best Rock Song for "Freedom at 21"
- Best Rock Album
Personal note first: Dear Christine, you're welcome.
So, Mr. Jack White, a man of many bands, brings us his solo project, finally. This guy is absolutely incredible, in my eyes. He has managed to do everything and anything he wants in music, never worrying about commercial success. This is more of an underground success story than any I've ever heard.
Of course, we knew him in The White Stripes, probably the most commercially successful of all of his projects. But try listing off every other one of his projects/bands, and you'll see that he probably hasn't seen much sleep since the initial success of "Seven Nation Army." Let's just do the quick list: The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, The Upholsterers, Two Star Tabernacle, Goober & The Peas, The Hentchmen... and his solo debut is just happening now (I'm not counting the Loretta Lynn project - even though it may be my favorite - because the bigger credit there is as the producer).
In short, Jack White, you are one of my heroes. If you ever read this: please let me apprentice for you and learn you amazing ways.
Okay, so getting into the album itself, we start off with "Missing Pieces." Awesome guitar lead-in, naturally, followed by Jack's odd but interesting voice and lyrics hitting hard. There's this synth sort-of sound throughout as well, just adding to the hard-to-place sound of it all. Mr. White takes over on his guitar around the two minute mark, for just a small solo, and it's crisp. The whole thing is much more polished than expected - a sort of different production style than expected. But it's good stuff, and gets your blood flowing and ready for the album.
"Sixteen Saltines" comes on with a much harder sound - thank God my roommates aren't trying to sleep. If you were trying to sit and relax during this one, you were awoken pretty damn abruptly. Oddly, it remains clean. There's no attempt for a dirty garage sound here - this is a seasoned professional. There's timing and a precise method to every movement made. Hot damn.
If you're looking for a more classic White sound, you're probably going to be happy with "Love Interruptions." I think the similarities lie most in the vocals - the girl addition alone helps prod it in that direction. Love the lyrics here: "I won't let love disrupt, corrupt, or interrupt me." I mean damn, that's something, right? That's something that's enough to make you sit up and pay attention.
"Hypocritical Kiss" is, I believe, my favorite track thus far. I'm not catching every lyric, but there's something in them that hits hard and well. The piano has something to do with this, I'm sure, as it just uses the entire upper register to do something outstanding. The effect/layer on the vocals in enchanting, really just portraying beautiful melodies and keeps me wanting more.
For a guy that's so known for his guitar work, the piano on this album is clear and dominating and, well, wonderful. "Weep Themselves to Sleep" sees it working up and down, bringing in this classical element to an otherwise not altogether happy song. I mean, the use of instrumentation in this one is something else. I'm not in love with the vocals/lyrics throughout, but that backing track alone sounds like something incredible.
Ah now, I remember "I'm Shakin'." It's a kickin' dance song that I'm dying to hear live. The beat alone has got to get you up and moving. There's some backup singers adding a little doo-wop to the whole thing. But mostly, I can't get over that beat! It's just so damn good, and so in tune with what music once was, with this modern twist. Whew... just love it!
"Trash Tongue Talker" is a little more raw in the sound, mostly through the vocal track. There's just more of an echo than the other songs. About a minute in is where you need to listen though - the instrumental break is something else entirely. It's like an old jazz bar has been transported to today's studio, with just enough rock riff to make it all different. It happens again around 2:20.
It's about this time of night that I could totally be singing this song, "I Guess I Should Go To Sleep." I don't totally know if this song was meant for anything more than to be a little funny, and maybe a slight blues song. It's a decent, old-sounding song - and I mean really old. It strikes me as something out of the 1920s, even down to the player piano sound coming from the notes.
"On And On And On" starts with this ominous string sound, and nothing totally takes us out of the trace nature of this track. I mean, there's a little piano, but nothing that packs a punch in the song. It's one of the most solemn tracks of the album so far. It's almost relaxing, but the drum beat keeps you from falling to deep asleep. Not the best follow up to that last one, now that i am actually laying in bed.
In what I cannot help but deem an appropriately titled ending song, we get "Take Me With You When You Go." In this, I'm pretty sure we hear just about every genre of rock you can imagine, and it all somehow works. There's some grunge sounds, some jazz, some progressive... just some of everything. It's not jaunting as we move from place to place either. The only thing making me not a total fan are the notes hit by some of the voices throughout. Otherwise, great ending.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Missing Pieces"
- "Freedom At 21"
- "Love Interruption"
- "Hypocritical Kiss"
- "I'm Shakin'"
- "Trash Tongue Talker"
- "Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy"