Album Review: The White Stripes Groove On and Get Complex!

The Icky Thump is the sixth album from the White Stripes. It is easily the smartest album of the rock duo's still emerging careers. The album begins with the rugged, bass drum-driven title track, but from there on out... the songs prove to be more structured and lyrically stronger than those of the Stripes' previous records. One might speculate that Jack White got the lead out with side project wonder band the Raconteurs. Perhaps it's that or just that it was time for the Stripes to fill in the blanks. For whatever reason, this is one of the best records in the Stripes' collection - but perhaps the most challenging for their most hardcore fans. Change is good, and this record demonstrates (clearly) that the band has all kinds of room creatively to live, move and breathe over the coming years. Bravo!

The White Stripes
Emerge Even Stronger

With the success of Jack White's "side job" as a Raconteur and as a producer (Loretta Lynn) - this record could have been the end of the band. Instead.... this is just the beginning! Perhaps proving they are the choice of the next generation, the Stripes released the album on customized, limited edition USB memory sticks. One looks like Jack - the other, Meg.

Embrace the future. Or get run over by it!

The most profound area of advancement on the record can be found in the areas of lyrics and inspiration. A song like "Effect and Cause" would have no place in the earlier Stripes' albums. Sure there were White Stripes love songs with veiled criticism before - but "You Don't Know What Love Is... (You Just Do As You're Told)" is a complex, layered tale. The pacing for "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues" unfolds at a surprisingly slow but most entertaining pace. Instead of lightning bolts outside the drunken bar - the night's skyline depicted on this track periodically explodes with electric guitar. Brilliant! Perhaps the most unlikely, albeit interesting song is an internal dialog White conducts with himself in "Little Cream Soda." The structure is mature, the voice unapologetic and perhaps a little too unforgiving. We've heard this from Eric Burdon and the Animals - only this time it's Jack White's turn to tell his version of "Paint It Black" - to read back his more drum-laden version of "San Franciscan Nights." Songs like this don't emerge from Rock Musicians today, do they? I guess so! (As Jack might say, "Oh Well, oh well!")

From the Amazing New Record:
The White Stripes - Little Cream Soda

Live Show Review:
- BOSTON 7/23/07 -

On the Web: White Stripes


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