Jack White is a familiar name for any rock enthusiast, although his reputation is debatable. For some, he’s spread himself too thin, for others he is a musical renaissance man. The fact is, he’s created three different bands featuring different styles of music, opened his own production company and left an unmistakable mark on modern rock music.
With his recently released solo album “Blunderbuss,” White puts it all out there with no one to hide behind. So does it work? There is no straight answer for that, just like there is no real way to categorize the artist.
“Blunderbuss” presents a compilation of everything Jack White has done with his career. It boasts the lyrical passion and simple drum lines of The White Stripes, the bluegrass inspired rock melodies of The Raconteurs and the gritty blues utilized by The Dead Weather. Every song has a different element that a long time fan can easily spot, but they all come together so cohesively that it not only works, but a first time listener can appreciate the unique sound.
Fans of White’s former projects will appreciate this album for its dedication to deep lyrics and White’s ability to tell a story. The album works together well and it is something that you can easily listen to straight through and not feel fragmented.
This inevitably means there are a few tracks that you can just lose within the album. This happens with more of the songs than I’d like, but there are a few that stand out and can hold their own. “16 Saltines” is one of these, and die-hard White Stripes fans will love it. It showcases everything the former band did best: simple sounds, intense lyrics and a strong guitar line. This is one of the stronger songs on the album, showcasing not only White’s undeniable talent, but the incredible result that is produced with said talent is actually utilized to its full potential.
There are other songs on the album that shine including “Love Interrupted,” a ballad about wanting love to finally come to you instead of searching it out. Lyrics like “I want love to walk right up and bite me/Grab a hold of me and fight me/leave me dying on the ground” demonstrate the passion and loaded meanings that White croons throughout the album. Some meanings are obscure, but others are painfully obvious. “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” is an upbeat attack on the women who have left him, one in particular being his former drummer, Meg. He doesn’t insult them, he simply cuts his ties and puts it best in the lyrics “but I can’t sit still/because I know that I will” that he will continue to make music because it is what he’s meant to do.
While it is not an overwhelming success, “Blunderbuss” is a good listen, and won’t disappoint fans of White’s former projects. It is musically and lyrically solid and the passion is there, it’s just the putting it together part that White needs to work on.