Album Review: Jack White - 'Blunderbuss'

19 May 2012 | 1:30 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Jack White can handle things all by himself.

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There is a 2009 film titled 'It Might Get Loud,' which music lovers need to see if they already haven't, that places Jack White in the same company as U2's Edge and Led Zepplin's Jimmy Page. At that point, White was well known as the creative force of The White Stripes and had also introduced the world to other projects such as The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, but to be considered in the same company as the other two guitar greats was an amazing achievement for the relatively young musician (career wise).

The generational differences between the artist's gently suggested that White was the newest commander of guitar based rock music, a point that no one really seemed to argue. Since the film, The White Stripes have gone their separate ways with White busying himself with a range of musical projects including the production of other artists and the creation of his own record label. He has also managed to record his debut solo album 'Blunderbuss,' a record that his fans would certainly be interested in hearing but not extremely surprised by because, let's be honest, The White Stripes equals Jack White.

'Blunderbuss' sums up the songwriter very well, his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the happenings in rock music past the seventies which makes him the premium modern day blues rocker, the culmination of country, soul and garage rock seamlessly blended together, and lyrics that seem more cryptic than they actually are.

Opening track, Missing Pieces quickly moves from its quirky introduction into a cool, swagger filled rock number, titled hat, loose cigarette style. This is morning after music, driving along the highway, windows down, leaving last nights sins in the review mirror, the imagery White's music can create is borderline ridiculous. The dirty guitar tones play beautifully against the thick piano lines and laid back drum patterns, rock n' roll is alive and well kids.

Things become dirtier and rockier for the energetic Sixteen Saltines before a sexy, evil groove in Freedom at 21. It's not all music drenched in sin however, as the title track is a sweet little piano ballad and there is a happy little bop in Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy. For the most part though, the record is the party for the cool kids with tracks like I'm Shakin', a distorted dance party number that is an album highlight.

If 'Blunderbuss' is what happens when White is truly left to his own devices, and considering the music he is responsible for when collaborating, the generation time chart suggested by 'It Might Get Loud,' is right on the money.

Since we are all fairly familiar with White's musical abilities and tastes, 'Blunderbuss' won't come as a huge surprise, but fans of his style will be in absolute heaven. As classic guitar based blues rock comes back into fashion, Jack White is unquestionably its fearless leader. 

1. Missing Pieces

2. Sixteen Saltines

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3. Freedom at 21

4. Love Interruption

5. Blunderbuss

6. Hypocritical Kiss

7. Weep Themselves to Sleep

8. I'm Shakin'

9. Trash Tongue Talker

10. Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy

11. I Guess I Should Go to Sleep

12. On and On and On

13. Take Me with You When You Go