Jack White: His Best And Worst So Far
The Raconteurs at the 2008 Austin City Limits Music Festival
Photo by Dawn Jones-Garcia
It goes without saying that Jack White is, and has been, one of the most prolific artists in contemporary popular music. From The White Stripes' self-titled album to his WTF collaboration with hardcore hip-hop dup Insane Clown Posse last year, the guy has released or produced an album every year without fail since 1999.
Given his rap sheet, it came to no surprise when the Detroit native announced a few weeks ago he's set to release his debut solo effort, Blunderbuss, through his own label Third Man Records in April, advanced by the single "Love Interruption." According to White, the record was written, produced and recorded by himself alone, and "had nothing to do with anyone or anything else."
Rocks Off has been waiting quite a while for White to have to his time to shine all by his lonesome, and in honor of the singer's forthcoming album, we rated his various other projects to hold you over.
from Get Behind Me Satan, 2005
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The White Stripes: Jack and "sister" drummer Meg re-introduced garage rock to popular music listeners at a time when boy bands and teenyboppers ruled the airwaves. The guitar-and-drum duo lasted six albums that spanned the course of 10 years, finally officially disbanding last year after not releasing new material since 2007's Icky Thump.
In short, White Blood Cells, Elephant and Get Behind Me Satan are White's collective magnum opus: The drumming is manic, the riffs are wicked and Jack's voice is as disturbing and beautiful as any Thom Yorke we've ever heard. The White Stripes may have hung up their cleats, but tracks like, "My Doorbell" will leave fans forever begging for a reunion.
from Consolers of the Lonely, 2008
The Raconteurs: Jack's relationship with "The White Stripes" banner was rarely on steady footing. Meg's intermittent battles with anxiety sidelined the group for long stretches, and with Jack's creative energy left without an outlet during a break in 2005, the guitarist joined with singer-songwriter Brendan Benson to form The Raconteurs.
The band was dubbed a "super-group" by music journalists at its creation, but through two albums, nothing super ever materialized. White's writing was tempered by his collaborators, and the band produced only a handful of memorable tracks -- and "Old Enough" stands among the best of them.
from Horehound, 2009
The Dead Weather: This was a strange move, even for White. Seemingly unsatisfied by both of his projects, White enlisted the help of The Kills' lead singer Allison Mosshart to form The Dead Weather in the summer of '09. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what isn't working for the group, though.
Psych rock? Good. Guitarist Dean Fertita? Good; Jack White on drums? Good. But for whatever reason, the Nashville rockers haven't amassed the allegiance The White Stripes did.
Through two albums, Horehound and Sea of Cowards, it's safe to say the groups of A-listers have underachieved. It's especially harsh criticism, yes, but when you pen "Seven Nation Army," you set the bar pretty high.
from Quantum of Solace soundtrack, 2008
Alicia Keys & Jack White: We really, really wish this we didn't have to count this one. We love Alicia Keys, and in theory, a Jack White mash-up sounds like a great idea. Only this one really stunk.
To start, Jack's trademark amp sounds like it's been neutered by production wizards -- something we never thought we'd have to say. And then there's the cheesy horn section, dreadful video and Ms. Keys' scattershot vocals. As evidenced by countless failed collaborations (We're looking at you, Paul and Stevie), talent just doesn't always equal chemistry.
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