Friday, June 22, 2007

Icky Thump (Hot Dog, A New White Stripes Album)!

After ten years, six albums and one cliche introductory sentence to a blog post by yours truly, The White Stripes still rock. If you've never liked them, you probably aren't about to start now. If you've always liked them, you'll either love this album, or you're crazy. One of the two. You could call this album a return to form after their 2005 album Get Behind Me Satan, there are no songs played on a marimba on this album, no piano-driven songs whatsoever, and very few (but still some) lyrics which could be construed as pining for a deceased Rita Hayworth (I'm not kidding, there were lots of these on Get Behind Me Satan). Yup, the main component of Icky Thump is the Stripes' distinctive brand of heavy blues-rock, with odd pieces of Country and Cabaret stylings thrown into the mix. Here's a song-by-song breakdown of some of the album's hightlights, in which I shall attempt to be brief:

1. Icky Thump: The first single and title track includes a great, late-Zeppelin-esque riff, Jack trading solos with himself on guitar and what I believe is a vintage synthesizer, and great fast-rhyming lyrics such as: "Redhead senorita lookin' dead came to, said "need a bed?" en espanol..." Ok, maybe you'd need to hear it to get what I'm talking about. It's cool, trust me.

4. Conquest: This song is great. It appears to be a cover of someone named Corky Robbins, who I am not cultured enough to be familiar with. I imagine that in its original form, it was a latin-sounding jazzy thing, and in some sense it still is, except that it's played by The White Stripes. It's got some great trumpet work on it (by a rarity on a White Stripes album, a session musician), and one of Jack's best vocal performances to date.

8. Little Cream Soda: I wouldn't have guessed that a song with such a silly name could rock so hard. The vocals are something like early Dylan talkin' blues, and the guitar is something like Randy Rhoads heavy metal, though there's no 5-minute fretboard-tapping solo.

9. Rag and Bone: This may be my favorite song on the album, though I probably wouldn't call it the best song on the album, if the distinction makes any sense to you. The verses are a mix of Jack and Meg talking to each other and Jack in song imploring the listener to give them a bunch of junk, which they can find a use for. I can't explain it any better than that. It's hilarious.

13. Effect and Cause: Part of the Stripes' appeal are the simple yet often very clever lyrics of their songs, and this song is loaded with them. It's very fun.

Anyhoo, that's almost all I've got to say about that. It's an awesome album, and if you're the sort of person who likes the White Stripes, you'll like it. Two more side notes before we're done:
First, the White Stripes are weirdos. From their obsession with the number 3 to their color-coordination to their pretending to be brother and sister to writing large pieces of an album about being in love with Rita Hayworth, notwithstanding that a lot of this is probably shtick, they are odd people. They are also awesome. They make cool music that is very fun to listen to, and they're very good performers if you ever get to see them live. Neil and I saw them in Detroit some years back, and for most of the show Jack pretended to think that they were in Toledo ("Thank you, Toledo! It's great to be here!"). Maybe you'd have to be there, but it was funny.
Second, and this is about the comments: I love it when people comment on my blog. It doesn't validate my existence, really, but it does validate the small part of my existence which I spend writing this blog. Please, comment on my posts if you have something to say, or even if you haven't (Lord knows, I haven't). However, before you comment, if you think that you have something witty and clever to say about Meg White's drumming, you're probably wrong. Can't say I didn't warn you.


E. W. Lynch said...

I have heard the Meg White is in fact a prototype "Meg-bot." I have no way of validating this, but I believe it to be truth.

D.Cous. said...

If it is true, I want one.

John Lynch said...

God, I can't wait to hear this thing. I'm finding the more I get occupied by work, the less I want to listen to music while I work. This is unfortunate, because it is prime listening opportunity. I really need to just suck it up, iTunes it, and load it up in my car.

Also, if we order Meg-bots in bulk to be get a group rate or something?

Lindsey said...

uh....I'm a little weirded out by this meg-bot thing...

new album sounds awesome though

die Amerikanerin said...

I make the favorite/best distiction all the time. It's very important. Anyway, I only have one Stripes album so far, but I was thinking of buying another... now I have to decide between this and Elephant.

D.Cous. said...

Sorry Linds, Something of an inside joke at play here. There was this weird website (I don't remember who found it or how) that claimed (presumably in jest) that Meg White has died, and been replaced by a robot, called "Meg-bot." This is probably a joke on the "Paul Is Dead" conspiracy theories circa 1967. I'm not sure.

Lo-chan: Get both.

die Amerikanerin said...

D.Cous: Update: I was gifted both for Christmas, and you are totally right–Icky Thump is freaking amazing.