Jack White – Blunderbuss
I am reviewing this in preparation for my (upcoming) review of Lazaretto.
You know, after the White Stripes split up, I wondered where Jack White could go. He did a thing, and that thing was successful. So now what?
Oh, just an ass-kicking record…
Missing Pieces should have been a single. It’s a super-cool earworm of a song like only White can write it, totally hummable. It had great guitar and organ solos. A sweet album opener.
Sixteen Saltines was a single, you’ll know it. It rocks. And it’s totally fun, too.
Freedom At 21 was also a single, and was the track that was a record store day event, wherein he tied vinyls of it to helium balloons and released them free to whomever might find them. Nobody can say White isn’t creative and interesting. The song itself is a funky blues rocker with yet another killer hook line, a crazy guitar solo and some great vocal vibratos.
Love Interruption was a single, and is a wonderful acoustic track. Tons of great lyrical brilliance here.
Blunderbuss’ beautiful waltz, married to White’s knack for melody lines, makes this a perfect track.
Hypocritical Kiss’ slightly out of tune piano (think disused church basement piano) intro gives way to a true shuffler beat and more genius White lyrics.
Weep Themselves To Sleep’s epic rock song structure is paired perfectly with a gorgeous piano part. There’s even another crazy guitar solo. Yes.
I’m Shaking was a single, and is a cover of Little Willie John. It’s a classic old school rock ’n roll romp. He even name-drops Bo Diddley, which tells you the stylings you’re in for, here.
Trash Tongue Talker comes at you in two speeds. First, it’s a gentle walking-speed blues swinger. But then, at the chorus, it double-times it into a drum and piano freak-out. So great.
Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is a funky shuffler. Quite a happy tune, with a great bounce to it. This type of song comes from a long tradition, and it’s well-played. I loved it. [One wonders if he got the idea (or even a notion) for this song’s title from the Tragically Hip’s 2005 boxed set, Hipeponymous.]
I Guess I Should Go To Sleep carries on the old-style with great vocal harmonies from Ryan Koenig, and it’s a damn fine and catchy revival-type song.
On And On And On busts out a cello intro, then the organ walks in, the drums (a machine?) and the piano are next… the melody line is frustratingly familiar to me. Where have I heard that before? Anyway, it’s more of a sketch and a place to try out a few instrument combinations.
And finally, Take Me With You When You Go riffs neatly on an old jazz song I can’t quite place… gentle instruments all around, with a real bounce to them. The piano seques into a solid rawk part, and it’s here we stay til the track crashes to a close.
[The Japanese release also got Machine Gun Silhouette (interesting, near enough the Damned’s Machne Gun Etiquette, perhaps?), and a cover of U2’s Love Is Blindness.] I dunno, I like the album as it is in the regular release. It works, from top to bottom.
In Sum: This was a superb record. He couldn’t have made it under the Whtie Stripes banner, so it’s nice to hear White stretch his musical legs and tell us more about himself outside of that one format. His tendency to drift back to older styles and the roots of all things is evident all over this record and it serves him very, very well.
Two thumbs way, way up.