My favorite story about Jack White was that while he was an upholsterer in Detroit, many years before he was cranking out riffs on his favorite axe from Montgomery Ward, he would write poems and stick them underneath the furniture he was fixing. So somewhere out there, White Stripes fans, White’s odes are hidden deep within random people’s houses. I would love to read them and see the mindset of White, back in the day, at a time when he was dedicated to the art of upholstery.
I would love to know what has been in Jack White’s creative head recently. Yeah we all know about his personal life but music wise, I must say that I liked their last release Elephant but didn’t love it like their breakout album White Blood Cells. Although I loved “Seven Nation Army” and a few other tracks, I was disappointed with the album. It sounded only like more of the same. That guitar and drum rock sound that’s been flooding the mainstream with such a formidable force, now seems redundant. I just needed to hear something new and different, not more of the same bangs and riffs. But in reality no one does it like the White Stripes. People may try to emulate them but they are the OGs.
I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing Satan, but being a Detroit native, it’s in my nature to get behind any artist that hails from the great state of Michigan. That being said, when I first played the new White Stripes album, I was more than surprised—blown away is the word I like to use. This is the album that I have been waiting Jack & Meg White to make since White Blood Cells.
What do I love about it, the piano; Jack White plays the keys like a man possessed. I have always been a fan of the keys, especially by artists such as Mike Garson, who’s played with Bowie and NIN, and Buena Vista Social Club’s Ruben Gonzalez. The piano sound on Satan dominates the album, more so than White’s guitar. It’s as if Jack put down his axe and was determined to make an album of piano-based blues. Check out “My Doorbell,” the way that Jack plays those keys sounds as if he’s in some saloon in the wild, wild west. All I can say is thank you for this Mr. White for such a dramatic and killer sound.
Jack must have been inspired with his parts in the movie Cold Mountain and producing Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose, because the sound is more eclectic, southern and purely electrifying. Just listen to my favorite track, “The Nurse.” It has a calypso vibe and in between the tropical sound you hear Jack wailing away on his guitar and Meg smashing her drums like never before. The star of the show to me is still Meg White, the coolest and sexiest drummer on the planet. Her percussion soars to new heights on this album. She’s not only the back beat but the back bone to the band. Even Jack would attest without Meg there would be no White Stripes.
After hearing Satan, no one can accuse The White Stripes of trying to mold their style for an MOR sound. On the contrary, they go down the other road with a more experimental vibe that makes Satan one of the most underrated releases of the 2005. You could tell that White’s been listening to lots o’ Led Zeppelin because some of the tracks like the acoustic “Little Ghost” and the electric “Take Take Take” sound like they could have fit perfectly on Physical Graffiti. Yes, Jack is doing his best Robert Plant with his own Detroit bluesy style. It’s more of an ode to Plant and Zep — I bet you even Jimmy Page will name Satan one of his fave albums of the year.
So if you’re looking for an album that will not only rock you but enlighteningly challenge you to redefine the sound that is the White Stripes then Get Behind Me Satan is the album for you. Hanging with the devil never sounded this good.