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The wheels on the Jack and Meg White bus may no longer go round and round, but if you were looking for the best of the albums that they made together, then this is most definitely the one. Packed to the gills with killer riffs, solid drumbeats and a quirky inventiveness that manages to remain accessible, there's little not to love on this album.
On the talent seesaw
Meg does drums. Jack does lead guitar. And bass guitar (through emulation). And almost all vocals. And arrangements. And writes most of the music and the lyrics. Let's face it, this is hardly an equal partnership. But Jack White is a true music prodigy, and those people are few and far between. You'd have to look pretty hard to find a peer for him.
Jack is an excellent guitarist, his signature riffs instantly familiar to many. He works a lot with equipment that provides rapid changes in pitch. His guitars tend to be obscure ones that few would associate with rock. An airline town and country, a harmony rocket, a crestwood astral. He also plays what first appear to be Gretch duo jets, but are actually one-offs custom jobs built for him by his favoured luthier in Chicago.
Rock me, Amadeus
Elephant contains two of The White Stripe's most recognisable tracks. The almighty seven nation army and The hardest button to button. Neither are particularly hard to play on lead guitar, but both sound great. Particularly the faux-bass line on the first.
My personal favourite is Hypnotize. A great strumming track that bleeds into The air near my fingers with such ease they must have been written together. It wouldn't be a White Stripes album without some kookiness, and this is provided by Black math, There's no home for you here and Girl, you have no faith in medicine.
If there are any duds on this album, they would be In the cold, cold night where Meg gets to sing and the utterly bizarre Little acorns. It all ends with a fun song that left me grinning, something that obviously started life as playing about in the studio at the end of a long day.
It can be rare to find a critically acclaimed album that's actually as good as the critics say it is, but that's what you have here. If you are into rock at all, alternative or otherwise, Elephant should be part of your collection.
Elephant, the fourth album by The White Stripes, was released in 2003. For a long time I thought it was their debut album: only a few years after it was released did I realise it was actually their fourth (I was never the coolest teenager around!). The album was released in the year I left college and started university, so it brings back a lot of memories, especially the first and most famous track Seven Nation Army, a fantastic rock song with a distinctive guitar riff that reminds me of many college and uni nights out!
I'm not really very good at music reviews, particularly reviews of non-pop albums, but I'll give it a go. The music to me is very rock and roll and very bluesy; it sounds quite American to me (in some ways rather Jimi Hendrix-like in his blues moments) and quite raw, particularly Jack's vocals. This is despite the album being recorded in East London (though the band is American) and references to England being scattered through it (notice the lyrics to Seven Nation Army: "from the Queen of England to the hounds of Hell"). I've read that the album sounds a bit like Led Zeppelin, but since my knowledge of Led Zeppelin's music is slim to non-existent, I can't say how accurate I feel this is. I like the back-to-basics feel of the music: the sound isn't layered over with electronic beats which makes it sound like old-school rock. Apparently it was recorded in under two weeks, which is pretty impressive!
To me, the standout track is still Seven Nation Army but the album as a whole hangs together really well and I enjoy listening to it. Other favourite tracks include Black Math and Hypnotise although there aren't any songs that I actually dislike. I've never actually gone out and got any more of The White Stripes' music, but perhaps I should!
1. Seven Nation Army
2. Black Math
3. There's No Home For You Here
4. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
5. In The Cold, Cold Night
6. I Want To Be The Boy...
7. You've Got Her In Your Pocket
8. Ball And Biscuit
9. The Hardest Button To Button
10. Little Acorns
12. The Air Near My Fingers
13. Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
14. It's True That We Love One Another
Released in 2003 by the White Stripes, Elephant was the fourth album by the band but their first on a major label. The album has the usual low-fi sensibilities but when I was told it had been recorded in only two weeks by the band in London, I was shocked, Jack White really is one hell of a musician as this album is brilliant and testament to the bands cohesion and creativity.
This album is one of the best i've heard in many years, I love the contrast of songs, from gentle ditty, to huge funk jams to rockabilly, the album is musically inventive, Jack and Meg both get involved and its an album i'll always return to. I have seen the band live and Jack separately and they are an amazing band who I think will be turning out awesome albums for the next 30 years.
The album was number one in the UK in 2003 and although none of the songs made number one, Seven Nation Army is surely one of the anthems of this decade:
1. Seven Nation Army - This is an anthem, I was shocked recently to see German football fans use this as the basis for football chants, but when you listen to it, you can really hear why, it has a fantastic bassy thump to it and is just hypnotic, the sound Meg and Jack makes is more than the sum of their parts and this heavy bass and drum based song is one of their career highlights, it is an exceptional song which you can mosh to, sing to, anything you want to really its a flexible classic tune. It even won a grammy for best rock song in 2003.
2. Black Math - To be fair this does sound like it was rustled up in a few hours, with the thrashing drums and guitar and the low fi singing, but its still awesome, a belting rock song with personality to burn, it doesn't really go anywhere but Jack's voice is fantastic on this tune. The pacing and drive of the song are brilliant and the interspersed layers of sound meld perfectly into a decent White Stripes tune which would be a greatest hit for most other bands.
3. There's No Home For You Here - Starting like the Beatles with a lovely melody, this sounds like Zeppelin jamming with the Beatles, lovely chorus. The song slows down after the initial furore and Jack almost whispers the lyrics, they sound fantastic and the song builds to its pounding crescendo. A great tune.
4. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself - Best known as a Dusty Springfield song, this suits the wonderful guitar and bass of this song with Meg's pounding drums adding some depth. Jack's voice sounds perfect filled with vulnerability, this gives the song a real mid south feel and totally reidentifies the song for me which is what any good cover should do, it only got to number 13 in the charts, but then who cares as singles stopped being relevant about 20 years ago! Wicked song.
5. In the cold cold night - Stripped down with an acoustic guitar an organ and a reverb, this is a lovely gentle ditty sung by Meg which has charm, its nothing amazing just a nice little song, great lyrics and a really surprising voice. Great to see Meg get a bit of the attention, this sounds like the kind of song to accompany a David Lynch film, its a beautiful quirky little number.
6. I Want To Be The Boy - Love this song about charming a girls mother, the lyrics are cool, the music is excellent too, its a lovely country style song, Jack is empassioned on the song and its a really cool song which nonetheless is one of the weakest on this album.
7. You've Got Her In Your Pocket - Gentle guitars and vocals again, you know something big is coming soon, this is a sweet little song, great vocals and lyrics.
8. Ball And Biscuit - The song starts slowly like a prowling coyote, you can hear this is going to be a big song, Jack is in New Orleans funky Witch Doctor mode, talking jazz at the start just building the tune up. I love this tune it is funky as hell, the bass is awesome as are the drums and Jack sounds awesome, this is 7 minutes long and a is a cool jam, the song really funks up with the bass going crazy at times, I think Jack White is one of the greatest musicians i've ever seen and he plays like a man possessed on this song, its a wicked tune.
9. The Hardest Button To Button - The thumping beat at the start sets a mood, this is going to be an anthem you can tell as soon as the bass kicks in, the lyrics, singing, drums and bass combine to create a fantastic tune, I love this so much it mixes rock and southern American sensibilities perfectly this sums up the White Stripes for me, great tune, anthemic and yet musically brilliant without being overtly commercial.
10. Little Acorns - Rocky without being too grungy, this is one of the weaker songs on the album, but is still incredibly interesting and varied.
11. Hypnotise - A short song at 1 minute 46 seconds this flies about like the Ramones sung by a crazed preacher, this is a wicked pop song, love it!
12. The Air Near My Fingers - This is not one of the stronger songs on the album, the layering is really interesting and the vocals are great but it is not as instantly catchy as some of the other songs, nonetheless its still great.
13. Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine - 3 minutes of rattling rock music.
14. It's True That We Love One Another - Jack and Holly Golightly sing this love song together, with Meg joining in as the voice of reason, it sounds great with the contrast in voices and the sixties style set up of the song, its a gentle mamas and papas song, the lyrics are funny and charming, this is a perfect end to one of the best albums of recent years.
The album is available for £4.98 on Amazon.com and widely available for download also.
Personally, I think this album represents the height of The White Stripes' career and probably the best album that they will ever produce. There was a storyline to go with this as well keeping them in the public eye to promote this along the lines of "are Jack and Meg brother and sister" as well as the phenomenal guitar playing that took place and I think that, if you've been fortunate to ever see these play live or watch a live recording, you'll see how hard they both work and I feel that this album is fantastic and one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of listening to and you have to really listen to it to understand how much work effort and detail has gone into making it.
When you press play you're introduced to Track 1: "Seven Nation Army" which is a basic and straightforward song with a simple riff and catchy chorus playing throughout along with some clever lyrics.
Following that is Track 2: "Black Math" which is a fast upbeat song with some very clever guitar work towards the end.
Track 3: "There's No Home For You Here" which is one of my less favourite songs here and just feels like a slower duller version of Hotel Yorba from the previous album. That said as with every song on this album the lyrics are very clever and catchy so this makes up for it I feel.
Next is Track 4: "I just Don't know What To Do With Myself" which starts slowly and takes a while to kick in but you find yourself tapping your foot after the first minute.
Track 5: "In The Cold, Cold Night" Is one of the few songs where Jack White doesn't sing and I think it nicely breaks the album up and gives yourself a break from Jack's voice.
Track 6: "I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart" is a lovely slow song with some nice rhetorical lyrics. The piano works well with the guitar and drums here as well.
After that you're on Track 7: "You've Got Her In Your Pocket" containing some gentle acoustic guitar playing and Jack White singing gently that he does in a lot of the album.
Track 8: "Ball & Biscuit isn't, in my view, a great song and after a few mellow songs in a row you're more or less expecting it to pick up a bit now. This song shows signs of that but the lyrics are also very esoteric and it's as if they're singing about something only they understand. It does however pick up at the end and there's some clever guitar playing so it's not all bad.
Track 9: "The Hardest Button To Button" is just fantastic in my view. The drums at the beginning get your foot stamping and sets you up for the whole song. the guitar riff is very basic but incredibly catchy.
Track 10: "Little Acorns" is an unusual one. It has a nice little introduction that comes from what sounds like an American talk show DJ and then when his message gets across the guitar kicks in and the point is expressed in some fantastic rock music.
Next you're onto Track 11: "Hypnotize" which is fast and quick and again makes you want to get involved and dance along to easy.
Track 12: "The Air Near My Fingers" which is your typical White Stripes song but also combining an organ with all of the other instruments.
Track 13: "Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine" is possibly my favourite track on this album. It's quick, catchy with good lyrics and some amazing instrument playing.
Just as you're getting used to it however you're greeted with the final track which is Track 14: "Well It's True That We Love One Another" which is a great and addictive and has just Jack, Meg and Holly singing along together. Personally, I think it's a great way to close the album and leave you waiting in anticipation for the next one.
Overall the album is great and I find hard finding any fault with it. If I had to choose its the order: there's a few too many slow songs in the middle but it's a trivial point anyway and barely worth mentioning. Artistically, it's a work of genius and it's more than recommended by me.
The White Stripes are a great band, for two small people they are absolutely brilliant at making inordinate amounts of noise:
This album is an eclectic and absolutely wonderful record. From the thumping Seven Nation Army, which is now a worldwide anthem, the album starts at a storming pace, this is followed by the banging Black Math which is also superb. Other banging tunes on the album include Ball and Biscuit and The Hardest Button to Button. On these tracks Jacks Guitar almost sings, he is incredible and makes so much tuneful noise. With Meg White making a tuneful and yet perfect drumming contribution, the songs are brilliant, there are a number of softer tunes, including In the Cold, Cold Night and I just don't know what to do with myself, there are simple melodies and the odd cover version, this is a brilliant addition to their catalogue and its an interesting album with vocal contributions from Jack and Meg White as well as the splendid Holly Golightly.
The album is 14 tracks long and i'd say 4 or 5 of the songs are not some of the best works by the band, but tunes including Ball and Biscuit, Little Acorns, The hardest button to button and the classic Seven Nation Army are classics from a band who I hope will continue to innovate and develop for many years to come.
Lyrically the band are not innovative, the innovation is in their arrangements and sound, the vocals are excellent, as Meg always sounds like she's doing Karaoke but has a fragility to her voice, while Jack's voice is simply Bluesy and wonderfully rocky, he does interest me a great deal as a musician and is the greatest Guitar player i've ever seen live, his range and skills on this album support this theory with some amazing guitar solos.
The Album was released in 2002 and the band perform all instruments including Piano. I really enjoy this album and its widely available on I-Tunes, Ebay and Amazon.
Before buying this album, I would recommend listening to one or two of the songs first. Unfortunately, I bought this album and was rather disappointed by it. I was somewhat silly and bought it on the back of one song: Seven Nation Army. Now I still love this track, it really is amazing and it is a track that will do for all sorts of moods, whereas lots of other tracks I find I only listen to in particular moods.
If you are trying to gauge what the rest of the album is like then its quite similar to Seven Nation Army (SNA)- fairly heavy rock with powerful singing. Just the other tracks are not as good or actually anywhere near as good. I found that none of them seemed to have the same powerful or catchy riff that SNA has and the tracks on which Meg White (drummer) sang infuriated me particularly. Track four (I just don't know what..) is a particular example of this.
I would strongly recommend caution before buying this album because I think it is based a round just one extremely good song.
Artist: The White Stripes Album: Elephant Well this is my first music review and I?ve been inspired to write this by an awesome band, also known as, The White Stripes. The band was created by Jack and Meg White. No one really knows why they both share the same surname. There are three possibilities. A) Meg White was formerly married to Jack but is now his ex. B) Meg is his sister C) As one website says, the real Meg White died in a car crash. Jack replaced her with a robot, also known as the Megbot. Now, despite C being a possibility, I believe that jack and Meg are brother and sister, I don?t really have any knowledge about this subject but it seems most likely. If any of you dooyoo members have any idea, please leave a comment and it will be appreciated. The band members are as follows: Jack White and Meg White. Incomprehensible? Well maybe this is what led the band to their great success, Meg?s on drums/tambourine and Jack is the vocalist, guitarist, song writer and the producer, both who Came from Detroit, Michigan. I suppose it would have been easier for him if he had just hired a few more musical talents so he could concentrate on singing, or the guitar (instead of doing everything) but this is why the White Stripes are such a successful and distinctive band. Their music ranges from bluesy melodies to punky and really heavy metal stuff. The album elephant has been at the top spot on the charts for many weeks during 2003 with a variety of songs. Once again, true rock ?n? roll has been reborn; this has only been accomplished by rock bands like the rolling stones, Queen and now the White Stripes are among the names. Many people may get confused between the Strokes and the white Stripes because they both have such style and attitude, however their songs do incorporate a recognisable difference despite their tunes being of the same genre and potential. It?s hard not to get addicted to t
he bands mesmerizing beats. Here are the tracks on the album, and I?ll rate them accordingly. 1. Seven Nation Army Probably the most well known song of The White Stripes, this song is powerful and fits in to every moment. Used in many ads and commercials it still thrives as one of the most popular songs despite its old age. The intro starts with a repetitive bass line on the guitar coming from Jack; it?s simple but effective, then Meg begins tapping the drums in another repetitive fashion. This all comes in layers which sounds perfect for the type of song they are trying to produce. Jack then launches into the chorus explaining that he could leave this world of media and attention and just go and be a farmer. The song is composed of bass and good old rock ?n? roll rhythm, one of the songs?s to get you into a rebellious attitude. A pure classic. A+ 2. Black Math A song full of hardcore power, relentless and unstoppable. The introduction begins with an inferno of smashing chords of the guitar and the clashing of the symbols and the drums. Jack then falls into a well written verse with quick paced lyrics and an edge to them, singing rather high pitched as if nervous about something. He bashes out the words while going along with a deep, rhythm that goes round and round while twisting and turning, producing different melody?s of higher and lower octaves, switching back and forth. A - 3. There aint no home for you here. This song begins with Jack wailing a top note during the intro, then falling gracefully into an immediate verse, while the guitar is bellowing out a pattern of slow chords that suit the words perfectly. He keeps repeating the lyrics ?there?s no home for you here, go away, there?s no home for you here? while matching it with beats from the drums. I?ve listened closely and I believe he?s recorded two of these separately, each an octave apart and then edited it so they?re synchronized and laye
red, one on top of the other. The lower octave played heavily while the higher, just in the background, played softly and subtly. A few notes from the keyboard (also played by Jack) can be faintly heard in between gaps of the drums. This gives it a lovely texture, of a range of instruments that coincide together nicely. This harsh intro then lowers into a moderately peaceful song and then at the end rising right back up, this time, the lyrics depict Jacks unsuccessful relationship, as do some other songs on the album. A 4. I just don?t know what to do with myself This song finds Jack depressed after his break-up, this perhaps the sequel to the previous song. He?s lonely and remembering all the good times he had with his girlfriend. The intro is nice and calm, he?s explaining the situation softly but then diving into the heavier stuff, accompanied with great guitar solo?s and twiddles of different strings. I think the lyrics are the strongest point in this song, as the drums and guitar aren?t as complex and exciting as some of the better songs on this album. I?ll give this a B+ 5. In the cold, cold night. The first appearance of Meg as the lead singer features well. The words are great as is her voice. It?s calm but defined and it shows she has talent beyond the drums. I believe it?s unfortunate that she doesn?t take singing opportunities in other tracks as this is one of my favourites. The song begins with soft plucking of the guitar but is then outlined with the voice of a deep keyboard. This song is lead by a lovely melody that compliments Megs singing beautifully. One of the more emotional songs and I will give it a sturdy A. 6. I want to be the boy to warm your mother?s heart. You know the feeling, the first time you meet your girlfriends? parents and you want to impress them, but fail miserably and end up embarrassing yourself. Well this song reflects that triumphantly. ?Well, nothing I come up w
ith seems to work, It feels like everything I say is a lie, And never have I felt like such a jerk, I?m afraid to even open my eyes, Because I really don?t want her to judge me? These are some of the lyrics from the song which have been written well with nearly every sentence rhyming with that which came before. The intro starts with Jack, singing in a lovely tone, accompanied by neat notes from the piano, eventually as the song reaches its climax, the guitar kicks in with its usually raspy voice and gets the song moving. Jack then fades out as the drums, guitar and piano slowly end the song. The quiet tapping of the symbol finally fades out into lonely silence. Probably just a fun song to fill the album, but nevertheless, the White Stripes turn it into something magical. B+ 7. You?ve got her in your pocket. One of the simplest songs on the album, this is just Jack finger picking on the acoustic guitar while singing along in a melodious harmony. Maybe not one of those tunes to get you riled up, it certainly does just give off a slight relaxing feel to it. He tries to pull off a soft, calm voice however it still comes out a bit edgy. There?s no bass line and Meg doesn?t feature at all throughout. Not one of the best tracks that they have ever come up with, it sounds unfinished as if it needs to carry on and get to a higher level before it can end. B. 8. Ball and Biscuit One of the heavier intro?s, it features a deep bass line accompanied by the electric Guitar with jagged chords. It then launches itself away with the heavy power of the drums. I?m listening to this song through my speakers and the subwoofer is really working hard to produce that bass, the heaviness of it causing the computer to vibrate and jump around. Unsure about what he?s trying to talk about in the lyrics but I get the feeling its some more relationship trouble. Throughout the middle he opens an absolutely awesome solo, the pining of th
e guitar screeches up and down the scales. I?ve never heard a guitarist so dedicated to the music he?s playing, it?s unbelievable and you can tell he?s having so much. You?ve got to turn the sound right up to enjoy this one. The entire song has the drum in the background going round in simple loops and the outcome is amazing. One excellent song, it?s even better with some great lyrics and singing. A+ 9. The hardest button to button When I first listened to this, I instantly knew I would like it. There was plenty of style and character and as usual, the bass kicked in instantly. Next comes heavy thudding of the bass guitar and then followed by a pattern from the electric guitar that repeats itself on two different sets of notes. The lyrics are as usual brilliant and suit the music superbly. This song at first sounded very much like one of the Strokes and like I told you at the beginning that they are very similar. He sings with a great raunchy attitude and manages to create a lovely effect with his tone of voice. A ? 10. Little Acorns This track begins with a humorous talking introduction (1 minute long), depicting the problems that face us in our everyday life, and how Janet overcame these. (Who the hell?s Janet???) When Problems overwhelm us and sadness smothers us, Where do we find the will and courage to continue? Well the answer may come in the caring voice of a friend, A chance encounter with a book, Or from a personal faith. (Piano chords begin) For Janet, help came from her faith, and it also came from a squirrel. Shortly after her divorce, Janet lost her father, Then she lost her job, She had mounting money problems, But Janet not only survived she worked herself out of despondency, And now she says life is good again. (Piano Continues) How could this happen? She told me that late one autumn day, when she was at her lowest, She wat
ched a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter, One at a time, he?s take them to the nest, And she though that if that squirrel could take care of himself, With a harsh winter coming on, so can I! (Piano?s hyping up) Once she broke her problems into small pieces, I was able to carry them, one at a time. Just like those acorns. One at a time. A Led Zeppelin like guitar solo begins and the song gets going. The drums produce rhythmic bangs and crashes that flow away with the song. Proper heavy metal begins, for the real rock fans. The song continues with Jack underlining everything that was implied in the introduction. This is probably just album filler but was done very well. Most people disagree with this and say its poor but it?s another decent, humorous song. B + 11. Hypnotize One of the most driven songs, It appears rather simple with quick lyrics, usual guitar melodies, a deep bass too it with a heavy backdrop of a two drum beats per bar and a tambourine adding a bit of character to the song. When I first heard the guitar and the bluesy riff going on, I instantly thought of a few other bands I?ve listened to that have a bit of punk to them, I certainly feel a punky vibe seeping from this song. Not my favourite pick of the crop but a B will do it just fine. 12. The air near my fingers A great improvement on the previous two songs. This has everything it needs, successful lyrics, and a lovely keyboard accompany that adds that extra bit of spice to the song. Another raunchy guitar tune that leads the song along with Jack, singing slightly more relaxed then some of his former songs. One of the better songs to add to your collection! A + 13. Girl, you have no faith in medicine Strangely enough, when I listen to this it kind of reminds me of the Beatles. Jack sings in an odd fashion as if high (he?s also rather distant) and there?s the usual guitar riff
along with plenty of drums and bass. Probably my least favourite song on the album, it doesn?t cut it for me. There?s nothing driving it, no direction. C + 14. It?s true that we love one another Definitely the lightest song on the album, it doesn?t include any rock at all and is more of a folksy/country/bluesy song then a heavy piece of metal. Featuring a guest appearance by Holly Golightly, this includes the whole lot of them*. The lyrics are soft and gentle explaining how Jack and Holly have a love for one another (hence the title.) The three of them alternate between singing and throughout the entire song, Jack clicks his fingers while Meg taps at the tambourine. This has been especially composed to end the album with a silly grin on your face. A sweet but funny song that really ends the album on a high note. B+ * Them meaning, just the two of them (jack and Meg (and Holly Golightly). Well, what do I need to say? This is an unstoppable chart topper of an album and I reckon you should all cough up the dough and go buy this! However, me just saying that you should buy it, doesn?t necessarily mean that you are going to, does it? Well, don?t take my word for it, take the other hundreds of thousands of people?s words for it who have also bought this album. Happy buying and feel free to leave any comments, they will be appreciated. Album £8.99 from play.com © MrChilliWillie? ?Writing about music is like dancing about architecture ? it?s really a stupid thing to want to do!? Elvis Costello.
I felt like doing a music review for a change but was at a loss which CD to write about hence it?s taken me a while. After some thought I?ve plumped for the White Stripes ?Elephant? as it?s been permanently glued into my CD player for a while now, OK, I haven?t actually GLUED it in there ? that would just be silly, wouldn?t it?! As with many people, the White Stripes were first brought to my attention with their ?Hotel Yorba? single, a few years ago now, although they were on their third album, ?White Blood Cells? by then. I heard their album and later saw them play live at Reading Festival in 2001 and so I was hooked! It was refreshing to hear music pared down to a basic simplicity with no frills or over-production but still with good meaty tunes and lyrics which displayed humour, intelligence and sometimes plain weirdness. This makes such a welcome change after so many manufactured bands, ?perfect? pop and high-tech production techniques and instrumentation which often knock all th4e stuffing and kick out of potentially good bands/music. That again is one of the main reasons I love seeing bands live to get true idea of how they REALLY sound. It always pleases me when I hear a band that sound the same live as they do on their recordings ? that?s what I prefer ? not being hoodwinked by special effects, etc. It must be the old Punk in me! Right, I?ve gone off on one there, back to the album in hand then. ?Elephant? was released in 2003 on XL recordings dressed in a cover which also displays the White Stripes simple approach with their trademark red and white colour scheme and a stark picture of Jack and Meg White on the front. Jack sings lead vocals, plays guitar and piano and Meg plays drums and does backing vocals. There you have it ? the ?band?! Admittedly the last track on the album also features guest vocals from Holly Golightly but apart from that there are no orchestral adornments, bells, whistles or frills. Indeed it states on the
cover that ?no computers were used during the writing, recording, mixing or mastering of this record? and it was also entirely recorded on a good old eight track reel- to ?reel machine which again enhances that raw, simple, played live sound. I?m all for it (can you tell?!) Let?s get going with the music then?. ?Elephant? kicks off with probably one of their best known tracks by now, the single ?Seven Nation Army?. Starting with its simple guitar hook line the infectious tune explodes out and gets your toe tapping straightaway. As ever Jack does sound rather like he?s singing through a tin can with a somewhat high, frantic tone. The next track, ?Black Math? is a real favourite of mine as someone who loves a good, fast, loud chunky tune which doesn?t get over-indulgent or drag on too long and is impossible to stay still to! A meaty riff without being too fast for its own good. ?There?s No Home for You Here? has a comparatively more complicated structure than most of their songs although by no means unrecognisable. A big opening and choruses of harmonies with pared down verses which leave Jack almost struggling to fit all the words in and one of my favourite lines on the album: ?It?s hard to look you in the face when we are talking, so it helps to have a mirror in the room.? Surprisingly the following track is a cover of Bacharach & David?s ?I Just Don?t Know What to do with Myself? but executed totally in the White Stripes style so if you?re not very familiar with the song you probably wouldn?t recognise it anyway! This is also one of the tracks which emphasises that fact that Jack White is NOT a great singer. He has a distinctive style which complements the music but, boy, does he struggle with the high notes and any softer, quieter moments! After that we have the simple (I must think of an alternative word!) ?In the Cold, Cold Night? which features Meg singing for a change backed by some sparse guitar. A
gain it?s a catchy little tune but one of my least liked on this album. ?I Want to be the Boy to Warm your Mother?s Heart? returns to Jack singing and a more chunky, full approach again with keyboards to the fore this time. ?You?ve got Her in Your Pocket? is another of my favourites on here. This is a very gentle track with, as I mentioned before, Jack sounding a bit strained on the softer vocals required and a countrified strummed guitar backing. Did I just say that was a favourite? Oh, here comes another one, you know what it?s like deciding upon these things! Yes, ?Ball and Biscuit? is definitely ?me?! A great bluesy, lazy rock track reminiscent of the Rolling Stones style from the early Seventies ? wandering, with a sneaky hook line and more strident, impressive vocals from Jack. I think this is the longest track on the album too, which is fine by me. ?The Hardest Button to Button? continues the pace previously set with its clever, amusing lyrics and Jack returning to his frantic vocal style over a ?thumpety-thump? rhythm that sets it all off nicely. A comical Sixties-style American voiceover kicks off ?Little Acorns? ? a song of triumph over adversity albeit through minimal lyrics but more of a ?wall of sound? musical backing. On to ?Hypnotize? which has a great tune and another basic riff line which bounces along at a galloping pace and displays that these faster, rockier songs are definitely what the White Stripes are best at. ?The Air Near my Fingers? follows with short, snappy lyrical lines but continues the same musical pace and bounce as the previous few tracks. Another rocky track hits us with ?Girl, You Have no Faith in Medicine? with Jack almost shrieking his way urgently through this one. Definitely another favourite here, given a lightly different sound by the constant madly shaken tambourine (?) throughout and Jack sounding on the verge of actually losing it this time. The final track, all too soon, gives a light, amusing ending to the album. "Well It's True That we Love One Another features Holly Golightly doing guest vocals as she and Meg discuss their feelings for Jack as he cuts in with his responses to their enquiries. It?s almost a childlike sing-a-long tune much akin to those in traditional musicals and a completely different style to the rest of the album but again this is another impossibly infectious number which will remain in your head for ages! So there you have it ? quite a difficult album to review due to the fact the same descriptions could apply to most of the tracks despite the fact that they DON?T actually sound alike (does that make sense?!) If you like your music in the rocky, bluesy vein with a punk influence and attitude then you?ll probably enjoy this as much as I do. Now, I think I need to go off and look up some alternative words for ?simple?, ?basic?, ?frantic?, ?bounce???????.
This band have been hyped up to such a great extent over the last 2 or 3 years that I admit I was swept away by it all and was lulled into purchasing this album, their second, which stood proud at the top of the album charts earlier this year. The band comprises a brother and sister double act called Jack and Meg White, they have risen to such prominence that Jack is now even dating Hollywood actress Rene Zellwegger and the band havent gone unnoticed that side of the pond (they won an MTV music award just last week). The White Stripes write, produce and perform all their own work and have a distinctive cranked up guitar sound, their army of followers grows by the day, usually I don't fall for what the music press and public is saying and like to decide for myself what musical sounds I like, so was I fooled in this particular case ? 1. Seven Nation Army (3:51) This track was a successful release from the album staying around in the charts for weeks and still getting regular plays even now on mainstream radio, it is probably their biggest hit to date. The thing that hits you right between the eyes with this track is the booming bass guitar which lies at the heart of most of the verses, it's addictive. I havn't a clue what the songs lyrics are about but that doesn't change the fact this is a great start to the album. 2. Black Math (3:02) A track which immediately kicks off with strong guitar riffs but never seems to get going. The vocals are difficult to describe - a sort of Jim Morrison but a bit more girly. In my book this track fails to back-up the great start to the album and only deserves recognition for the quality guitar work, it's also short at just over 3 minutes long. 3. Theres No Home For You Here (3:43) A song completely contrasting from the other 2 mainly because it constantly changes in pace and style the whole way through. The lyrics look like they've been penned by a
n Oxbridge graduate but that's not why this song falls down. It, along with track 2 never seems to achieve what it set out to do even though the chorus is catchy and the guitar and drums are quality. 4. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (2:46) The only song on the album which is a cover version, this one being from the Burt Bacharach classic. The White Stripes have transformed this song into their own inimatable style and although very short this song is a little gem. The vocals and feel of the song make this their best work of the album so far, indeed it has become their next release and charted at 14. 5. In The Cold, Cold Night (2:58) Meg has the vocals on this slow paced album filler which doesn't appear to hold any particular significance, it doesn't stand out in any way and is one of those songs which the skip button was invented for, another very short tune too at under 3 minutes. 6. I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mothers Heart (3:11) I love the intro to this song, excellent sound and very reminiscent of a sixties band. The thing this track stands out for most though is the lyrics which are just wonderful, a lad trying to win the heart of his girlfriends mother and failing miserably (rings a bell !). A very clever song but again very short, something the album appears to be plagued with. "Well nothing I come up with seems to work, It feels like everything I say is a lie, And never have I felt like such a jerk, I'm afraid to even open my eyes, Because I really don't want her to judge me" 7. You've Got Her In Your Pocket (3:39) Another song which I like immensely, lyrically It's excellent - you feel like you have your partner under wraps and are in control of your relationship until they leave and it dawns on you that you were just lucky to have known them in the first place ! The words are sung very soft and tender
ly and go hand in hand with the general feeling of sadness about this cracking little tune. 8. Ball And Biscuit (7:15) The beginning to this track reminded me of some of the acts down my local club, the narrative lyrics and cranked up guitar solos didn't really appeal to me, the dysfunctional lyrics didn't help either, the quality of the guitars can't disguise this track is frankly poor and amazingly it's the longest so far at over 7 minutes. 9. The Hardest Button To Press (3:30) This track is something completely different, the lyrics are amusing and the guitar riffs are likable but I get the impression this is just an album filler which was just a bit of fun, not to be taken seriously! "We started living in an old house, My ma gave birth and we were checking it out, It was a baby boy, So we bought him a toy, It was a ray gun, And it was 1981" 10. Little Acorns (4:11) This song has a baffling spoken word intro which last for a minute before guitars eventually kick into life, at this stage it reminded me a lot of early P J Harvey stuff. Again this track fails to appeal to my imagination and doesn't seem to serve a purpose, poor track which ends abrubtly. 11. Hypnotize (1:57) A track which is so superior to the three previous tracks it defies belief. Great lyrics, great vocals and superb accompanying bass guitar. The only thing that lets it down is that it is under 2 minutes long. Like the title suggest this song is about hypnotising..... "If I can be so bold, I want to hold your little hand, I want to spin my little watch, Right before your eyes" 12. The Air Near My Fingers (3:39) This tracks has a super bass guitar intro which is accompanied the whole way through with some well delivered vocals, it's catchy too even though It's another track whose lyrics are difficult to interpret
. One of the better tracks on the album, possibly a future release? 13. Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine (3:15) Jack White's vocals on this track reminds me of that gay bar song, he sort of goes a bit loopy which is probably intentional seen as the song is about drugs. A willingness to experiment is a good thing but then again !! "Don't even need a drink of water, To make this headache go away, Give me sugar pill, And watch me just rattle, Down the street" 14. Well It's True That We Love One Another (2:40) A bizarre song in a sort of Country and Western style about Jack, Meg and guest vocalist Holly Golightly eventually getting round to saying that they all love each other. Annoying and another which goes hand in hand with the skip button. Total running time 49:56 Summary Well I must state straight away that I was bitterly disappointed with this White Stripes album, sure they can rattle off the odd good tune and can play a mean bass guitar but this album is heavily flawed. For a start off they are lyrically poor, secondly although there are 14 tracks on the album only 2 of them lasted for over 4 minutes and both of those were terrible. On top of that Jack's voice is limited which will hold them back and lastly they are hugely inconsistent - the album fillers were to be frank awful. The White Stripes do have talent and I'm sure will continue to progress and develop as an act but as far as I am concerned this album is hugely over-hyped. ==================================================== WormThatTurned2003
This year really is the year for decent follow up albums. Hot on the heals of my op on Blur's Think Tank comes The White Stripes 4th album Elephant. The last album was released in 2001 and so 2 years after everyone suddenly discovered the White Stripes the follow up has now arrived. For anyone out there who doesn’t know about The White Stripes they are Jack and Meg White, although no-one seems to know if they are brother and sister or man and wife. Meg plays the drums and does all the backing vocals and Jack does all the lead vocals, Guitars and Piano work. Seven Nation Army **************** The first single to be taken from the album, Seven Nation Army has to be one of my favourite tracks this year. It starts with a bass line quickly being joined by the vocals. The beat stays pretty much the same all the way through picking up a little for the chorus and then returning to a steady beat. The vocals sound superb and the bluesy sound of The White Stripes is shown superbly in this track. Black Math ********** As you will notice as we go through this album most of the tracks all have pretty bizarre names. Starting a lot more upbeat this one kicks off with a loud drumbeat with the guitars helping the song along superbly. The vocals again sound superb and the Blues style feel is in evident again. A quieter patch in the middle of the song suddenly builds up again into a superb instrumental section. There's No Home For You Here ************************** Starts with a long note and a drum beat before the vocals come in and it eases into a typically White Stripes kind of place. The mixture of the louder segments and the quieter parts help to make it a better song and I always find myself singing along with the chorus. The beat is constant and could help to make this into a fairly decent single for the Stripes. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. *****************
******************** The only song on the album not to be a White Stripes original, this was written by Mr Burt Bacharach and has been covered by the Stripes. Starts with a guitar with a simple intro and a quiet drum beat in the background before the vocals come in. The drums are used in a large way to accentuate the end of a lie of the chorus. Another quality song to sing a long with and is quite mellow and chilled out. In The Cold, Cold Night ******************** Again this song starts with a guitar on its own and then Meg comes in with the vocals over the top of the guitar. Another quite relaxed song with a Bluesy sound, more so I feel than any of the other White Stripes songs. Not a song you could really find your self-singing along to but I have caught myself humming away to it when I’m in the car. Basically it is just Meg’s vocals with the guitar keeping the time and building a little near the end. I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mothers Heart ******************************************** This one starts with just the piano with Jack’s vocals coming in pretty quickly and the drum keeping pace in the background. It’s obviously an attempt by a boy to get his girlfriends parents to like him even though they are from different backgrounds. Its a superb song with a good solid beat throughout and even though he doesn’t really sing very much on it the vocals are about right. Again that Bluesy sound comes into play quite heavily after about 2 minutes. You’ve Got her In Your Pocket ************************* This song starts with a guitar intro again before the vocals come in quietly, with quite relaxed sounding vocals and the guitar still going. This is probably my favourite track on the album and to be honest I’m not even sure why. It’s basically just Jack White and his Guitar strumming away and singing. Very relaxing and mellow, this is going to
be ideal for lazy summer days. Ball and Biscuit ************* This starts with a harder guitar intro, which is very quickly joined by the drums. Another cracking song, with the vocals again not really being sang but rhythmically said. It fits in perfectly with the pace of the song and just the whole generally relaxed feel of the whole album. The beat is pretty consistent and leaves you nodding along. The song picks up quite a bit for an instrumental section in the middle where obviously they just decided to have a jam. The Hardest Button To Button ************************* A louder quicker beat starts this track off with the guitar adding its own bit of flavour to the mix. The lyrics are a bit bizarre but its another of those songs that you just love listening to. The beat from the intro carries on into the song until the chorus where it starts to kick off into something a bit different before returning to the original beat afterwards. Little Acorns *********** This has to be my least favourite track on the album. It starts with Mort Crim doing a spoken introduction over the top of a piano tune about a woman who has a lot of problems who gets help from seeing a squirrel gathering food for the winter. Then after he has finished it starts to improve with the drums and guitars coming in and actually making it into a much better song by the time Jack actually comes in with some vocals. Its really a song of two half’s with the first being really quite boring, which may make people skip past it. The second part actually being a decent song. Hypnotize ******** Now that were onto track 11 they obviously decided it was time to lift the pace with a loud guitar and drum fuelled track. Sounds much better than the intro to the last song and carries on into a decent song with a good beat. The vocals sound superb again, but the song is over much quicker than you actually realise. The Air Near My Fingers ********************* Another fast paced song with the drums and guitars starting off in a similar style to the last track before the vocals come in. The beat like many of the tracks stays the same throughout the song. The vocals sound great again and really are suited into the song. The lyrics to all White Stripes songs seem to set something off thinking in the back off my head about what they could possibly mean. Girl, You have No Faith In Medicine ****************************** Carrying on the trend of loud sounding songs with superb drum and guitar intros we’re now onto track 13. It sounds a little like the last couple of tracks but still has a refreshing difference to it somewhere. The vocals are quite catchy and I find they are quite easy to remember and hum along to. You can see where the Jack White and Electric 6 rumours have come from as his vocals on this sound just like those on Danger High Voltage or what ever it was called. Well It’s True That We Love One Another. *********************************** This song sees them enlist the vocal talents of Miss Holly Golightly? Between her, Jack and Meg they each take on a part within the vocals. It’s set to a rather peaceful standard background tune, but it sounds really refreshing. It has a comical side but does it without sounding too tacky and actually quite enjoyable. Well there we go that’s the lot, available from all good musical outlets and some bad ones as well. Price wise go to CD-Wow to get it for £8.99
The release of ?Elephant? for the White Stripes saw another piece in establishing them as one of the biggest bands of today. Although the album managed to pass without mass hysteria, the White Stripes have made their new blues rock sound into one that fits into modern rock. It draws some obvious influences with the classic blues guitarists, and has encouraged more throwbacks to come forward into the limelight. The UK?s answer to the White Stripes are the very good and highly tipped 22-20s, and the Stripes have played a major role. Since emerging with De Stijl, their big breakthrough came with 2001?s album White Blood Cells. ?Elephant?s is their fourth studio album overall, released in spring 2003. The band is comprised of two people only, Meg White on drums and Jack White on guitar/vocals/piano and everything else. Blues rock is very much the norm with strong guitars both loud and distinctive. The lack of bass does not seem to bother anyone, the due hold more than their own in stage presence. Meg is regulated as one of the better drummers around at the present, more solid than spectacular, the songs are guided through effortlessly and she also makes some lead vocals in the songs. The White Stripes have been picked on to become a fashionable band. The White Stripes carry around a number of curiosities about themselves as a hook in the music industry. They always dress in red and white only, while there is much debate over Meg and Jack. Rumours of them being brother and sister, wife and husband or just separated are refused the be confirmed or denied by them, who are also distinctively quiet in interviews, another feature of them. Whatever, their music is to the point, raw and pretty damn good. The success of this album is already underlining them as here to stay, while the cool status they are enjoying can only benefit them. 1. Seven Nation Army. This track must be pretty well known by now, it was a single that preceded the release of the albu
m. With its distinctive opening riff, and the amount of radio and TV play for the decent video it has had a lot of exposure. The opening chords sound like a bass line, but is actually an effect done on Jack White?s lead guitar. It is a simple, no-nonsense song that sets out the whole idea of the White Stripes. The guitars and drums are the only real instruments, but combine to give a powerful and driving sound to start off the album. 2. Black Math The second track has become an important live number for the band, for fairly obvious reasons. It keeps to some degree the simplistic rock sound of the opening number, but is quicker paced and more of a rush through some frantic guitar work. It has a great title to the song, as have many other on here, while the track itself is among the best on the album in terms of quality and staying around. 3. There?s No Home For You Here This track moves into a more defined layout of a song with sublet quiet parts and louder segments. Like the album as a whole, it was recorded (in London) in a very minimalist sort of way. There are no fancy tweaking or wondering what that button does in a studio; it is simply people playing real instruments on the recording. The song is not as good as the two openers as it is slightly offbeat, but is not a poor track. 4. I Just Don?t Know What to do With Myself Not an original song from them, the only cover on the album it is a cover of the quite famous song by someone called Burt Bacharach. It passes off reasonably well even if it is not up there with the best songs on the album. Jack White has not got the best voice, but it is tested out on this track and passes well. 5. In The Cold Cold Night After a slightly slower previous number, again this song is more relaxed pace. The lead vocals pass in this song to Meg the drummer. She perhaps does not have the confidence behind her, but has a sweet voice. It is a quiet song with a slow guitar pl
ucking on top of the vocals, again simple but effective in its own way. 6. I Want to be the Boy who Warms Your Mothers Heart Another almost classic song with a blues feel to it. It has a simply and effective tune guided by the drumming, but also the piano in the intro and guitars. As the title alludes to it is about a boy who wants to please someone?s parents. The lyrics are, like much on the album simple but have a really good edge to make you smile by listening in. 7. You?ve Got Her in your Pocket This track follows the previous two as another slower number with a sensitive side on show. A lazy acoustic guitar is the only backing to the understated vocals. It is a very nice song, easy to pick up and listen to. 8. Ball and Biscuit The opening guitar lines pick up the album after the slow ones with much louder and faster rhythm. It is a longer song than a few of the three minute pop numbers, more experimental in the sense that there is an instrumental section and a number of solos being played. It is another great song, following the blues guitar rock vein. 9. The Hardest Button to Button The next track features some more excellent guitars playing, some of the best examples of this on the album. I love the title, plus some of the lyrics here are slightly off beat you could say. More great blues guitars, played at high volume. 10. Little Acorns Little Acorns has a spoken intro about the squirrel who split his problems into small pieces to solve his problems, and how this should be a moral to all of us. Like other moments on the album the lyrics seem more than a little odd, but in a good way. Musically there is nothing too special, the guitars are loud but not as good as other sections and so on. 11. Hypnotise Hypnotise is a short and sharp burst of more guitars and drums. It has a less refined sound, much barer and raw that shows how well produced the album is to get the effect of bei
ng minimal. As the song goes it is nothing too special, loud and fast carrying it through. 12. The Air Near My Fingers Actually quite like the previous track, in terms it does not mess around and is another hit of blues rock. It is a nicely constructed song, the vocals match up with the sound of the song, it runs smoothly and just feels right. 13. Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine The song has a fantastic title, much like the lyrics across the album it is a little surreal but seems to fit in easily. Again picks up with a smooth intro bringing in the guitars and drums, it is another tracks that rocks in a good way. 14. Well It?s True That We Love One Another The album ends on a fine point, great track selection to make the album work over fourteen tracks and still ends on a magnificent note here. The song has guest vocals from British singer Holly Golightly, it is a very enjoyable song to listen through after a number of quicker anthems it calms down to this to end on. The White Stripes are making music now, drawing their influences from past greats. They have done this in a way that gives them their own sound and progressed from there. It can claim to be one of the best albums of 2003, even at an early stage it faces little competition from truly great records. Simple music done in basic conditions works well in this case, the end sound is fantastic. With this album it only confirms how good the White Stripes are at the moment, and how good their music can be.
We advise you to prepare your review offline, then to copy it to this space. This ensures that in the event of a connection time-out your contribution is not lost on posting.Following the hugely successful album "White Blood Cells" with anything as remotely brilliant may seem like an impossible task, but Jack and Meg have done it again. "Elephant" is a very raw offering, using their trakemark simple chord sequences and Jack White's unique voice to great effect. Musically, this album is fantastic, make no mistake. Yet it fails to break any new ground on "White Blood Cells", with the noted exception of "Seven Nation Army". For example, the first time i heard "There's No Home For You Here", i could have easily been fooled into thinking it was a new version of "Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground". If there's one track to look out for, it's "You've got her in your pocket". The feeling behind these lyrics is made obvious, and it is one of the most beautiful tunes i have heard in a long time. This is The White Stripes finest effort to date, and should be in every true music lovers record collection.
Elephant is one of those rock albums that will make you to re-discover your lost hope for sounds with meaning. Amazing guitars that they lifting you up. Drums and basses that you really can sense. Opinionated and full of energy voices. Who are White Stripes Meg White: drums and vocals Jack White: vocals, guitar and piano Elephant is their fourth album and they have done several singles. More details about them you can find on their web-site: www.whitestripes.com The tracks 1. Seven Nation Army 2. Black Math 3. There's No Home For You Here 4. I Just don't Know What to Do With Myself 5. In the Cold, Cold Night 6. I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart 7. You've Got Her In Your Pocket 8. Ball and Biscuit 9. The Hardest Button To Button 10. Little Acorns 11. Hypnotize 12. The Air Near my Fingers 13. Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine 14. Well It's True That We Love One Another Produced by Jack White Engineered and recorded by Liam Watson All songs written by Jack White except ?I Just don't Know What to Do With Myself? (written by Burt Bacharah ' Hal David) This note that impressed me very much is inside the cover:?No computers were used during the writing, recording, mixing or mastering of this record? Isn?t that amazing? This album is a pure human product! The price The cheapest is at cd-wow.com at £8.99.At Amazon.co.uk it?s on for £9.97 and at WHSmith it?s on for £9.99.(+£1.54 for delivery if you buy it through their site) My experience Listening the whole cd was really a challenge as the first time I listened up to the third song and went back to listen again the first two. Then I managed to listen up to the fifth track and I couldn?t?t resist. I had to go back to listen again track number three and four! On track number seven I stayed for half an hour, list
en to it again and again. When I got to the 12th track I had already listen about ten times track number 8 and the first two tracks a couple of times! And when after hours I managed to listen the last track which is so sweet and funny, I didn?t know where that cd starts and where it finishes! I had years to enjoy a cd that much. My opinion An absolutely fantastic album.Elephant is one of the best albums I have heard this year. I don?t want to say the best I?ve ever heard for years because you probably will say that I am exaggerating. Really if you want to make a gift to yourself, buy that album or borrow it and listen to that authentic album that was made without the use of computer.(I don?t know if the innocence that is coming out of this album is because of that but to tell you the honest truth?I don?t want to know.) What I know though is that the simplicity of the words and the sounds reminded me the fastness and the deep meaning of the ancient Greeks. You can say three words and you can analyse them for centuries. I am not saying that album is that good but it surely reminded me that. Song that I like You 've Got Her In Your Pocket, Well it's true That we Love One Another, The Air Near my Fingers, Black Math, There's No Home for You here, Seven Nation Army, In the Cold, Cold Night, Ball and Biscuit, Hypnotize (I have wrote them all or I have left some for you to discover?!) So if you are asking me ?shall I buy it?? I will answer ?I hope you are calling me from your mobile and you are at HMV or something!!...? Thanks for reading?
The latest offering from the Blues-Rock brother/sister, husband/wife (?) (Probably the former) combo is a cool, pared-down, ?raw? record - tender in places (e.g. In the cold, cold night) but throbbing in others (e.g. the awesome Seven Nation Army). Track3, ?There?s no home for you here?, is wide of the mark and ?You?ve got her in your pocket? is poor in comparison to its peers, but only when Jack and Meg set such dizzyingly high targets can one pick faults. Album gems, and ones that best epitomize the record, are; Seven Nation Army is an ideal opener, delivering in dirty, fat waves a wall of bass and furred guitar. Incidentally, the almost nauseating, but excellent video is precisely the visual representation of this! The Stripes' 'No one knows' (QOTSA). Burt Bacharach's ?I just don?t know what to do with myself?, is anthemic here under the White?s stewardship, sounding unerringly original. I particularly love the layers of Jack?s aching then shrieking voice. ?I want to be the boy to warm your Mother?s heart? is exactly the country, piano-led ditty a young gentleman should feel towards the prospective in-law, and one he could get away with playing to her. Simple, effective and heartfelt. ?The hardest button to button? is my favourite on offer, the juddering hook of drums being incredibly hard not to crank up and rock out! 3.32 minutes of concise,funky rock with clever and amusing lyrics - "I grabbed a rag doll, and stuck some little pins in it" (to quieten his crying boy!) 'Little Acorns' and 'Hypnotize' are the best of the rest, the former having the immortal line "be like the squirril" and the latter belonging squarely to the 'turn-it-up-loud' fellowship. I think the album could prove too successful, robbing many of a band that they felt were relatively undiscovered: nevermind, while the ?Stripes produce music of this calibre, I?m not on
e to grumble. Another must buy album (that?s what everyone tells you), but it cannot fail to impress upon you, make you smile and rock. *Further note, in a world where Thom Yorke says that he would choose a computer over a guitar ( how I dispaired on the Jo Whiley show), the album is refreshingly produced without such digital technology*
Buy an album without having heard it first? You must be mad. What could possibly persuade me to do that? Read an opinion? Well I could but that never really cuts the mustard does it? Nothing really helps you know whether you are going to enjoy music until you actually hear it. Then I guess I'm lucky to be working with one of those people who is like an ear to the ground of the "indy/rock" music scene, while his obsession with Paul Weller and The Who know no bounds, he is also very good finding talent that is still essentially working its way into the mainstream consciousness. Well, chances are you may well have heard a snippet of The White Stripes with their song "Seven Nation Army" (from here on in The Whites) on that clever advert for the BBC, (and it accompanies the trailer for the hairdressing program) the one where they keep changing heads. You probably won?t remember it, and that is a testament to the fact that it's not only extremely inoffensive but actually rather enjoyable. Of most peculiar interest is that The Whites are a nothing more than a duo. Jack and Meg White, who hail from Detroit, the pair seems to revel in the ambiguity of their relationship. Speculation has it they are siblings, or perhaps ex-marital partners. What are we to care?! as it has little bearing on their music, the duo certainly have a great deal of ability to communicate their desires, and the end result provides us with some exceptional results. Jack and Meg have been producing albums together now since 1999. Elephant, being their fourth contribution, follows many of the familiar themes found in their earlier work. Principle song writer Jack has something of an interest in the number three saying "It was a number I always thought of as perfect, or our attempt at being perfect. Like on a traffic light, you couldn't just have a red and a green. I work on sculptures too, and I always use three colours. I don't know. It has t
hat feel to it, everything we do. It just seems like the perfect connection. There are vocals, drums and guitar." Accompanied by the simplistic cover art, The Whites continue to promote the simplistic Red and White candy sweet colours through out the production; you might catch the Seven Nation Army video on MTV. I saw it this morning, red white and black themes throughout! With that thought I remind you this band is a duo. The two play all their own instruments, but rather than clutter up their music with over complicated bass lines and convoluted organ and keyboard accompaniments keep it simple with drums, guitars and voice. Essentially The Whites are a back to basics rock n roll outfit, their style is laced with blues rhythms and punk riffs, accomplished lead guitar solos and raw grungy metal. Meg covers the drums and backing vocals and Jack the vocals and guitar. Elephant which is currently sitting at number one (1/5/03) in the album charts is an outstanding display of what can be created with the simple time honoured techniques. Elephant is the perfect remedy for a generation of dance-a-holics, who coming down from their drug induced music tastes, are reaching out for something a little more tenable. This album is perfect for any lover of rock n roll (and here I could mention Dooyoo patrons; Iain Wear, JohnDMR and Wicked Witch) who is striving to get away from the sickening run of corporate rock and the embodiment of music hell - reality *ahem* bands (don't get me started on the cheek of using the word band when introduced with worth boy before it.). Various sources state Jacks pride that none of the equipment used to produce the album were made after 1963, he states that this makes the sound more honest and indeed it does. Removed from the world of computer enhancement we get raw, emotive guitar melodies and drum beats that don't always hit the exact beat. That said you can hear the over drive and pitch change pedals. Th
e songs then; Seven Nation Army opens with an imitation bass line faked through one of the afore mentioned pedals. Meg taps out the simple tick tick tick drum. Jack sings a song reflecting on the media attention they have acquired; paranoid and worried Jack ponders leaving it all behind to become a farmer. The track is simple and follows the principles introduced at the start from beginning to end without striving for complexity. Given that it?s now in the charts you can hear it anywhere, I caught it on Radio 1 this morning and saw the video on MTV a couple of days ago. Black Math is far heavier with a driven three or four chord guitar loop and clashy, cymbal driven drumbeat. Jacks edgy, quite high voice stretches an octave or two and hammers out a lyric that suits the feel of the song. NME say it's all about attraction to another person, but that doesn't ring home to me. But never the less you could easily picture them in some garage bashing the instruments in to submission There Aint No Home For You Here opens with another driven opener but fades into a relaxing song with complicated lyrics openly reflecting on a failed relationship. The driving chorus "there ain't no home for you here" is perfectly off set by the ballad-esque almost chanted lyrics of; "Each simple gesture done by me is counteracted, And leaves me standing here with nothing else to say". I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself is one of the better songs on the album, melancholy and emotive, lonely Jack finds himself unable to find happiness now he is alone. The guitar played on two levels, a simple strummed pattern during the verses and the chorus focused with a heavier edge and rockier backing guitar riff. In The Cold, Cold, Night. It's a rare treat to hear Meg sing as she does on this track. A soft and haunting voice not to far removed in pitch and tone from Jack. Her soft melodious voice suits the simple guit
ar melody, hammondish bass note obtained via guitar vibrato. Once in a while the track is punctuated by a crash cymbal. From this track it becomes clear that Meg has plenty of talent and it's a shame we don't hear her more often. I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart. Obviously touches on that early stage in a relationship where we find ourselves striving to meet the expectations of our girl friends mother. Simple classic guitar riff again, backed by Zepplin-esque overdrives. This is going to sound like a detraction but the piano accompaniment vaguely reminded me of November Rain by GnR. You?ve Got Her In Your Pocket. Another simple track, simple solo finger picked acoustic rhythm guitar with Jack singing the soft sultry lyrics. The lyrics again reflect (and I hate to keep using that word but my minds a bit blank for something else today!) an insecurity regarding dating and women in general . Ball And Biscuit. Possibly the bluesiest track on the album, a definite John Lee Hooker vibe surrounds the 12 bar chords. The middle sees Jack open up a whining solo; it?s so rare to hear something where someone sounds like they are enjoying themselves so much. Absolutely magic track. The Hardest Button To Button. As soon as I heard this I though of ACDC. The band not the electricity! This could have easily broken in to "The Jack" or some other early DC track. But it contains the same easy bass line, simple rhythm and rock blues over tones. Vaguely shouty track full of hard edge chords and ?long train? running beats. Little Acorns. The song most likely to satisfy the proper metal heads, it whines and groans with heaving guitar and clashing drums. Largely the track is built upon a heavy bass riff, once again on a normal rhythm guitar. It isn't my favourite track on the album, opening as it does with a long spoken intro about Janet, but never the less no worse for it. Hypnotize. Again an
other track which immediately reminded me of someone else, and perhaps the one that gives them a punky edge. A vaguely Undertones/Buzzcocks feel to this one. Exceedingly simple in its complexity, tambourines, ride and crash cymbals, and easy guitar. The Air Near My Fingers almost feels like "Hypnotize" but breaks the track down to continue with a heavy intro edge into a familiar sounding track that again finds us listening to Jack almost chanting the lyrics. I maybe wrong but I could swear there is a Hammond organ playing there too. Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine. A song which does what it says on the label, I'm not sure who Jack is talking about but who ever it is won't take over the counter medicine! We have a nicely composed punk style reprise for the penultimate track that has a wicked guitar solo that breaks the over all track. It?s True That We Love One Another. Given that Jack is the proud leader of the Whites it comes as something of a surprise to hear a third voice join them in the final track of the album. Holly Golightly, who has been touring with The Whites, joins Jack and Meg in a tribute to their relationships with one another, a witty track dedicated to the media circus hounding them over their relationships. Well I actually began writing this op before Elephant got to number one, its taken me about 4 weeks to complete it, mostly because I've not had the CD out of the car long enough to be able to break down the tracks. The fact that this has been spinning more than anything else in my collection should give you a good idea of how good it is. The fact that I began writing this op after listening to the album a couple of times shows how much I wanted to share it. The White Stripes have delivered a particularly rare gem; the unsophisticated style lends this album something that has been missing from the music scene for quite a while. If you are looking for a modern alternative to classic r
hythm blues, rock and punk then this album should be high on your wish list. If, like me, you are put off by albums that reach number one because they all too frequently sound like sell outs then fear not. This album isn?t a sell out, isn't a target audience engineered piece of mindless drivel. This album will make you smile, it'll make you tap, and it?ll make you wish you'd heard of The Whites before everyone else so you could gloat about what a great band you've been listening to. In short this album is magic. At £10.99 in HMV it's actually pretty cheap. It's 10 stars, 5 just doesn't do it justice.