Holy Shit! I listened to The White Stripes – Elephant CD more than ten times in a row now. And I still can’t get enough. It’s outright ridiculous. However, I must say that I was a little afraid beforehand, because my first experience with Jack and Meg White was their first album, which I had bought just a few weeks ago. It blew me away and I was worried that my subsequent encounter could potentially result in some sort of disappointment. Well, it didn’t – quite the opposite.
The CD starts off with ‘Seven Nation Army’, arguably the most popular, but certainly the most recognizable song by The White Stripes. There’s not much to say about this one that hasn’t been said already. Very cool riff and my favorite version is actually the one the duo performed at the Grammys as a prelude to the old Son House tune, ‘Death Letter Blues’. When you watch that video, pay close attention to Quentin Tarantino’s big smile at the end of the song – that says it all! The next track is ‘Black Math’ and if you think Meg and Jack White would take it down a notch, well, you’d be wrong. Especially, one minute into the song when Jack steps on his distortion pedal, things get very heavy. Just perfect! ‘There’s no home for you here’ is a little slower and gives the listener a little bit of break – well, actually, not really. While the guitar is a little bit more tamed, the lyrics are pretty stark. Track #4 is one of my favorites: ‘In the cold, cold, night’. Simply beautiful, beautifully simple, Meg White’s singing is killer. This song haunts me and I’m afraid that it’s going to for a long time. And that’s a good thing.
‘I want to be the boy to warm your mother’s heart’ and ‘You’ve got her in your pocket’ are more of singer/songwriter songs, very interesting lyrics again and nicely arranged. ‘Ball and Biscuit’ is a slow blues with a strong riff and theme and a nice warm up to another White Stripes classic, ‘The hardest Button to button’.
When I listen to music that I like, the volume is usually cranked up pretty much all the way. So if you’re like me in that regard, I got to warn you now, because the next tune ‘Little Acorns’ might take you by surprise. It starts of with a spoken part and movie-background piano music, but one minute into track, I heard the heaviest White Stripe riff yet. I had to take a deep breath. Another interesting element in this one is Jack’s singing which sounds a bit like Buddy Holly. ‘Hypnotize’ is solid rock, ‘The Air near my Fingers’ features a lot of interesting nuances, and tempo changes and happens to me another one of my favs. ‘Girl, you have no faith in medicine’ is again faster and would have been a great closing track for an overall brilliant album. But, in typical White Stripes fashion, there had to be another surprise. ‘ Well, it’s true that we love one another’ is actually the final number and boy do I love that tune. A simple A-major, E-major, D-major chord progression, the unique voice of Holly Golightly and the trialogue ping-pong between the three of them – oh, and the funny lyrics of course – make you just wanna pick up your guitar and sing along with them. It just puts a huge smile on your face.
The White Stripes – Elephant is like your scariest roller-coaster ride – just five hundred times better. And to all you die hard fans out there – I totally acknowledge that my little write up here does not do the album any justices. I’m not a music critic, this was merely a reflection on how I feel when I listen to this CD. I can truthfully say that I’m in love with Meg and Jack White’s music. It is as simple as that.
Okay, I now have “Get Behind me Satan”, “White Blood Cells” and “Icky Thump” left. But for now I need a little break to get over this one. It literally impacted me on all levels. Rarely have I experienced such intensity. To me personally, it ranks right up there with the early Black Sabbath albums, which to me is like the holy grail.
In case your interested, here is the link to the Guitar Shop where I grabbed my copy of The White Stripes – Elephant for under 10 bucks from.