Thursday, February 7, 2013

#390 Elephant -- White Stripes

Jack White reminds me of that creepy Tim Burton creation from A Nightmare before Christmas.  I was expecting manic songs declaring "this is halloween" around every turn; but instead, well actually, that was pretty much what I got.

Only kidding.  The album declares that it is a concept album of sorts.  I read so in the little booklet that came with my one cent cd that I ordered off of amazon.  It deals with "the death of the sweetheart."  So, you know when it's like 2 am and drunk o'clock and your lazy ass was SUPPOSED to make the long rambling paper tie into all the things you learned in class?  And give it important attributes like a thesis statement and some themes for good measure, but you didn't?  So you "muhahahaha-ed" to your clever little self and you erase your shitty turd of an introduction and then you rewrite it with this sentence: "THIS PAPER IS ABOUT ____________." even though it isn't?  That happened in this album.  But, that doesn't take away from its awesomeness.  It just felt like they had a lot of after thoughts and tried to make those work.

I was very confused, because when I heard the song about a man talking to himself in his mind behind a cigarette, I was like, "is he going to kill his sweetheart?  why is she breaking up with him?" oh, right, because he looks like he stick-walked himself off a Tim Burton storyboard, I remember.

But none of this prattle is important.  Everyone knows that with music it's not so much about the lyrics but the feelings it creates.  So you can be like homeboy and just use the pronoun "it" over and over as a subject and elementary rhyming, but blow everyone away with your killer music.  The truth is, they are a very talented group.  None of the songs remotely resembled the previous one and I was very impressed how they drew from jazz, older genres of music, and even folk music.  The only song that I didn't really care for was the last one where they sang back and forth at one another and tried their best at humor with singing.  The banter was annoying and sounded like junior high flirting.  Their lyrics still beat the hell out of Mark Knopfler's though.  hands down.

Seven Nation Army, for whatever reason, reminded me of the time I was stuck in the Victoria and Albert museum during the London Bombings of 2005.  It was July 7th and it was a Thursday morning.  I didn't hear a whole lot throughout the album that resembled their purported theme, but I felt the terror of losing one's safety net; and that's what this album made me feel all over again.  Although neither Jack White, nor I, have enough evidence to write a convincing argument that the song, "Seven Nation Army" argues for either the death of the American sweetheart, or the sick feeling that burgeons up as you leave what might be your last phone message on your father's office phone saying, as calmly as you can, "I think we are being held hostage.  Bombs are going off all over London.  I don't know how many more will go off or if they have one in the museum.  I know it's too early for you to be at work yet, but I had to call anyway.  If I don't make it home, I love you Dad."  Neither theme really works and I would fail both of us heartlessly if I were still a slave behind a podium with a red pen.  But everyone with a brain cell knows grades are a crock of shit, so let there be terrible themes and wonderful music, and anxious stories that are dropped at the end of a blog entry like a bomb and don't have a conclusion...

What those who don't get paid to ramble had to say about Jack and Meg White:

Jack and Meg White proved their minimalist garage rock had more depth and power than anyone expected. On tracks like the slow-burning "Seven Nation Army" and "The Hardest Button to Button," Jack's songwriting finally matches his blues-fanboy, art-school shtick.

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