Showing posts with label jack white. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jack white. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

video review: 'help us stranger' by the raconteurs

Well this is... actually, I have no idea if this is going to be super controversial or not, we'll have to see.

Anyway, time to venture into a review that I'm genuinely surprised I haven't seen more folks approach - stay tuned!

album review: 'help us stranger' by the raconteurs

Of all of Jack White's side projects, this was the one I least expected him to revisit.

Hell, I thought he had moved on years ago, mostly because The Raconteurs felt like a precursor to everything Jack White would do in the 2010s, laying a foundation of classic rock for Jack White in the latter half of the 2000s to springboard his weirder retro-blues and garage side to wildly varying results in the 2010s. And I'll admit they were always the act that tended to draw the least of my attention, even as you could argue they were the most consistent Jack White side project. I attribute a lot of this to co-frontman Brendon Benson who had a much more measured, conventional rock tone to his song structures and compositions, but that might stand as the most telling drawback of the group, because of every stylized stab into rock Jack White made, The Raconteurs were the most backwards-looking and conventional. And sure, the albums were fine - probably getting the most interesting when they mined the compositional tension between White and Benson - but they were projects that didn't really add much great or boundary pushing in rock in comparison to Blunderbuss, or even Boarding House Reach, an album I'm mixed on to this day but at least was taking chances.

And I bring up Boarding House Reach because it's hard not to feel like the mixed reception or even backlash to that project might have prompted Jack White to reunite with Benson - sure, it's been teased for a while, but if he wanted an easy way to appease an increasingly unpleasable audience, a new album from The Raconteurs over ten years since Consolers of the Lonely would probably help. But at the same time I had low expectations - the songs would probably be fine, but firmly indebted to classic rock and blues and nothing great or challenging. But hey, I'm open to being wrong, so what did we get from Help Us Stranger?

Monday, March 26, 2018

video review: 'boarding house reach' by jack white

And here is round two - and I imagine this'll be the contentious one, with nobody being all that satisfied with the conclusions I draw. Eh, it happens.

Next up, the living hell that's going to be tomorrow's Billboard BREAKDOWN - stay tuned!

album review: 'boarding house reach' by jack white

So here's something paradoxical I've noticed with Jack White: for as much as his presence and influence seems to loom over so much modern rock music, I don't think about him that much these days. You'd think I would, given his work with The White Stripes or The Raconteurs or even solo, but for as much as I really liked Blunderbuss, there was a certain distance I still have towards Lazaretto even despite liking it a fair bit. And this is coming from someone who has seen White live in concert and who generally likes his southern gothic, jagged, almost hermetic approach to his sound, spiraling down into twisted rabbit holes that might stumble towards blues rock lyrical cliches but nearly always had the tunes to back it up.

But here's the thing: not counting that overstuffed release of b-sides two years ago, this is the first proper Jack White record in four years, and I was genuinely curious how it would stick out in comparison to so many artists trying to chase some brand of his sound... or hell, even outright surpass it in the vein of artists like Ron Gallo or Kyle Craft. And I'll admit a certain amount of concern about this one: I won't deny that it was likely a natural step for White to step away from conventional blues rock in favour of a more diverse or eclectic sound, but he's never been a great lyricist and if he was refocusing there at the expense of good riffs, with even reportedly a rap-inspired song on this project... yeah, I had room to worry. But what the hell: how was Boarding House Reach?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 14, 2016 (VIDEO)

So yeah, this week was awesome... and yet given that Drake is probably going to smash most of this way next week, it's all too brief. Eh, it happens.

And also on a downer note, I've got the next review dropping tonight, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 14, 2016

So remember when I said last week the turbulence wasn't going away any time soon? Yeah, this week proved that in spades, because not only did Beyonce's Lemonade hit like a ship from Heaven, Prince's tracks only picked up more traction on the Hot 100 and holy shit, somehow the charts got kind of amazing this week! And I mean that beyond just the new arrivals: this sort of shakeup I suspect will have longer lasting impacts than many might think.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

video review: 'lazaretto' by jack white

Well, this was more frustrating than an otherwise enjoyable album should be, but that's what makes the albums interesting.

Next up is the 200th episode, a very special episode indeed. Stay tuned!

album review: 'lazaretto' by jack white

It'd be hard to argue that The White Stripes weren't one of the most essential rock acts of the 21st century thus far. It'd be even harder to argue that at least four of their albums weren't bonafide classics by doing what more rock bands should: stripping down to the basics, writing gripping melodies, and then building back on top of them, thanks to the virtuoso talents of Jack White. 

But one thing was all the more certain: ever since the breakup of the White Stripes - hell, probably even before then - Jack White has been obsessed with his place with respect to the women in his life. First with his breakup from his partner Meg White and then his divorce to Karen Elson, you can tell these events have haunted him for years, and nowhere did this become more apparent than on his debut solo album in 2012 titled Blunderbuss. And make no mistake, for the most part that album brought everything I loved about the White Stripes to the forefront on this record, and on a musical level, I dug the hell out of it. The guitarwork was solid, I liked the genre-hopping nature of the tunes between garage, blues, and folk, and the melodic composition was as good as ever. Lyrically, though, Jack White was playing in a grey zone with his framing that was tricky to gauge. While he was playing the 'evil women' card more often than was really comfortable, Jack White made it very clear that he wasn't exactly a sympathetic character, and that his damaged views on what love was or should be, all characterized by the female backing vocals that supported him.

But at the same time, there's something of a limit to how much of that brand of blues rock-inspired topic I can reasonably stomach, so when I heard reports suggesting White was going back to this topic, I was a little less enthused about this record than I'd like to be, even if there was signs of more country instrumentation. So on that note, I checked out Lazaretto - how did it go?