words by Ryan Doyon
Ok sure, I am still saddened by the demise of The White Stripes. After an amazing 14 year run which produced 6 highly praised studio albums, giving us countless fuzzy guitar infused blues rock, they called it quits in 2011 leaving fans everywhere crushed. Jack White has added his musical one-two punch to many a band over the years but nothing came close to the energy that the Stripes produced in their time together.
Almost a year to the date Jack White releases his first solo album, “Blunderbuss.” And it appears he has returned to form. That’s a lot to be said of a collection of music that came to be thanks mostly to a missed recording opportunity with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA. He had the equipment ready, why not use it right? For those who think his recent collaboration with avant-garde musicians Insane Clown Posse might have meant he was heading down a dark path rest assured Mr. White has seen the light.
The album opens with the track “Missing Pieces“ which one would not be judged harshly if after listening thought we were in for the 7th White Stripes album, but there is more to the opening song than the departure of Meg White. From the first notes of the Hammond organ to the last line which he declares “They ain’t lyin’ /they’ll take pieces of you/ and they’ll stand above you / and walk away / They’ll try to take a part of you with them.” It’s clear he is making a statement! Jack White has taken pieces of all his bands and walked away with them. You want a down and out rock n’ roll stomper, you get it in the album’s second track “Sixteen Saltines.” You want a heavy groove filled track circa The Raconteurs you get that from the fantastic “Freedom at 21.” The album’s first single “Love Interruption” is arguably the best track on “Blunderbuss.” It’s a winding, sing-along song, about the beauty and corruption of love with amazing backing vocals and clarinet solos included. It is also clear he is having fun with his newly found musical freedom in the 50’s rockabilly style of “I’m Shakin,” and the piano-singed, western saloon sound of “I Guess I should Go to Sleep.” The new album is a homecoming of sorts for White. He has been all over the musical map and has settled down nicely with Third Man records, but it’s clear he’ll always stay true to his vagabond rock n’ roll days.
If you thought Jack White had already done it all and couldn’t possibly have anything left in the musical tank.……“Blunderbuss” is Jack’s smirking revenge.