Jack White – Blunderbuss (2012)

Do you know the album that kicked Adele’s “21” out of  Top Chart in UK and US? Yes, you’re right! It’s Jack White’s “Blunderbuss”!  This is one of my most anticipated album in this early year. Along with John Mayer’s “Born And Raised”. But I think John Mayer had reached his peak at “Continuum”. I might be wrong though.

I’ve been listening to “Blunderbuss” for about umm.. maybe 69 times. Haha. I don’t know. Too often maybe. And I don’t get tired of his music, he’s a genius. He’s the saviour of the blues rock. Exaggerated? Maybe. Who cares anyway.

In case maybe some of you didn’t know him, Jack White is a multi-instrumentalist and frontman of The White Stripes, The Raconteur, and The Dead Weather. He collaborated with renowned musicians such as Beck, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck,  Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, Electric Six, Insane Clown Posse, and Loretta Lynn. Probably one of the busiest musicians today, not to mention Dave Grohl and Mike Patton of course.

Compared to his project with The White Stripes, The Raconteur, Or The Dead Weather, inarguably “Blunderbuss” (which, for the curious, is a muzzle-loading firearm, with Dutch origins that roughly translates to thunder pipe) is his masterpiece so far. This will be a classic album in the near future. Wanna bet? It is an album with a fine concept, but he made it effortlessly. Bluesy lyrics, passionately creating and performing, copious amounts of tunes covering a wide spectrum of styles in music and sound, a vintage one.

To promote “Blunderbuss” in Saturday Night Live on March 3rd, 2012 episode, he performed with two different backing bands, one all-female and the other all-male. But I love the latter, with Carla Azra on drumset. Oh.. absolute beauty. They’ve got the chemistry. Let’s forget about Meg White, shall we?

Recommendation

When it comes to guitar playing, White is best known for the heavy, raucous anthemic riffs like “Seven Nation Army” or “Icky Thump” that he banged out early in his career. In this album, you can listen to “Sixteen Saltines”.  

“Freedom at 21” is particularly catchy, a lone rattling drumkit and a stark snaking guitar line witnessing how poor boy White had the soles of his feet cut off. The solo in this one echoes the Stripes’ “Blue Orchid”, by mixing dry and octave guitar tracks played on a Bigsby-equipped Tele. To differentiate from the later, “Freedom” adds a smidge of delay that offers a trippy stereo effect from right to left with headphones on.

White spends the first half of the album dwelling on womankind’s perfidy, casting himself as the suffering plaything of a series of vicious femmes fatales. Love has often been a pugilistic game in White’s mind but this time, on track one, he’s actually losing limbs. The partial lyrics of  “I Guess I Should Go To Sleep”:

.. I guess i should go to sleep, too hard standin’ on my own two feet. Been walkin on too long on a dead-end street. I guess i should go to sleep..

.. I guess i’ll take off my shoes, head upstair and watch the news. That’s another way to lose this walkin’ blues. I guess i’ll take off my shoes..

Grammy’s is on its way and more awards to come. Album of the year for me.  This is what blues is all about, Robert Johnson must be proud of you Jack! Well done.

 

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