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"Get Behind Me Satan" was released as the fifth album from the Detroit Alternative Rock band The White Stripes. Consisting of Meg and Jack White, the two shot to fame when "Seven Nation Army" was released, and so to follow on from the success that came of that and the "Elephant" album that followed, this came three years later in 2005 to take things further for them. Giving the break they had been striving for since debuting in 1999. Here they are seen to bring in influences from the likes of Punk, Blues and Garage Rock with other little things rounding it all off.
1. "Blue Orchid"
This was the lead single to the record and one that has them throwing down a heavy jam that I really felt suited being a representative of this album as it has the sort of energy that you expect from a lively Rock track and it appears to show that they haven't really moved that far away (musically) from the places seen on the album prior to this. It is a strong opener and one that livens you up for the thing.
2. "The Nurse"
I can't say that I was as impressed with this one as the first one as you find that here you get a track that has them returning to the sorts of alternative, and especially experimental things that came in all the albums leading up to this point and the kind of things that had put me off a lot of their work. Towards the end as it all came together it made more sense, but really it didn't have much that I could easily connect with.
3. "My Doorbell"
This is a hardcore joint from the pair and one that I felt was a great single from them as without this (in addition to "The Denial Twist") I doubt whether I would have seen any interest in their material. Here they bring forward a fly one that has them combining the cold setting that makes up most of their songs with some heavy, pounding kickdrums to empower it as they show that they can bring the Funk.
4. "Forever For Her"
With a hype created from the last track, I felt that it meant that it was a little easier to get into the sort of stuff that you get from this one as you see that they don't move all that far away from it. However it was far enough away for me to lose whatever I saw in them before as it became a little more average-sounding than what they had hit the listeners with on the jam prior to it and so brought about a bit of a slip.
5. "Little Ghost"
Here you get a short little Bluegrass session as they show exactly how varied their music can be and I felt that placed where it is, it gives you a bit of a lift and shows you that they have a lot to offer and may take things in completely unexpected directions easily to come out to make for a very varied album. It is one that will grow on you with time and I felt that it was a nice addition to the album for what it offers.
6. "The Denial Twist"
I saw this one as one of the most impactful tracks by the band and one that has them throwing together a little something that shows that they can get down with the Funk Rock style and do it like it was their specialist area. In spite of its likeness to "My Doorbell" I believe that it deserved a lot of attention as they bring so much with it and defy all the expectations that you would tend to associate with them.
7. "White Moon"
I felt as though a massive drop came about as they moved on into this one and came out with a bluesy track that takes you from a massive high, right down into some material that I really didn't have much interest in whatsoever as they try out even more of the extremely experimental material that you really have to engager with to get the most out of, but I could just never get into the groove of things.
8. "Instinct Blues"
I felt that even though the style remained the same with this one as with the last, it was amazing to see just how much the feel of things appears to shift as here you get a much more powerful blues performance here as they go for a throwback Blues Rock-styled jam that bring s out all the Soul in what they have to offer to bring back the quality of the album to where it had been with some of its singles.
9. "Passive Manipulation" (Lude)
10. "Take, Take, Take"
After a brief beak where Meg takes over the lead vocals from jack, you see that they come out with a very complete-sounding tune that has them coming out with another tune that takes from the basic structure seen in "My Doorbell" and manipulates it in new and original ways to bring out the best in what the band are able to achieve, and so it gives you another chance to feel them working to their highest standard.
11. "As Ugly As I Seem"
Here you get a tune that I felt really didn't have all that going for it and one that showed just how inconsistent things are with this album where it shifts from a high to lows fairly quickly and prevents you from really getting the chance to stay with them for any length of time as they will move on so far from one tune to another. It just wasn't my thing, but others may feel differently towards what comes of it.
12. "Red Rain"
Luckily they pull things back again with this one as they bring forward a tune that finds them coming out with a little something that brings back the much more impressive Rock end of their music forward. It is an expressive composition and one that has Jack putting in a lot of effort to convey his emotions about how the relationship with his girl is going as he breaks down a lack of communication that he feels is pulling them apart.
13. "I'm Lonely"
The album ends here and it seems that they brings a tune that seems to have all the soothing elements that you tend to expect to have at the end of an album. I felt that it was a good decision to end with the Blues side of things, but I can't say that it really stood out as many of the others on the album were seen to and so it isn't a particularly the best way to close the thing off, but seems to suit their style well.
Quite clearly this is an album with flaws and one that is able to manage its weaknesses by showing a wide variety of different styles to the table to show that they always have something to fall back on if something isn't received well. There's a lot to like here, but I felt that its inconsistency meant that it shifted frequently from something that you get down to something that is easy to want to ignore.
'Get Behind Me Satan' is the fifth studio album from The White Stripes and it must be said that it's just a bit different from the norm. Every track present here sounds completely unique, and whilst some of the tracks work; others just don't. Full marks to the band for experimentation and creativity, not so many marks however for consistency. Whilst some of the tracks are quite impressive here, others have me quickly reaching for the skip button before my ears suffer too much. There are thirteen tracks present here, as I say though; not all of them are particularly worth listening to, and the likelihood is that you won't appreciate everything that you hear here (I certainly didn't).
A few of the better tracks from this album are those of 'Blue Orchid', 'Take, Take, Take' and 'I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)'. 'Blue Orchid' is the opening track, 'I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)' the closing track, whilst 'Take, Take, Take' is somewhere in between at number ten on the album. All three of these tracks are very different, equally impressive in their own ways however and all of them are well worth listening to. 'Blue Orchid' possesses a powerful guitar progression, 'I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)' on the other hand uses the piano to progress the track and this simple sound combined with the vocal output of Jack White really does come across incredibly well here. 'Take, Take, Take' utilises a simplistic drum beat and a simple piano sound also, the music works well though and once more the vocal sound of Jack White is incredibly striking here. The music is incredibly basic, supremely simple, and yet it works; the music sounds good, and in this instance less is most definitely more.
Jack White actually wrote every single track present on this album, I find it quite amusing how someone can get things so right with some tracks and yet so, so wrong with others. The album is incredibly inconsistent; ranges from brilliant to terrible, and yet the same person wrote every single one of the tracks present here; go figure. Another thing I find quite amusing about Jack White is his voice, he doesn't have a particularly good voice at the best of times; there are tracks where he makes the most of the voice that he does have however, with other tracks on the other hand he'll shriek and cry and his vocal tone can actually be quite painful to listen to. With the track 'As Ugly as I Seem' for instance his vocal performance is dreadful, with 'Blue Orchid' on the other hand he uses his whininess to his advantage and makes his guitar whine to go with it and the end result is absolutely excellent.
It's hard to put a genre on this album, impossible in fact; so many different sounds are covered here that there's absolutely no way of slotting the album nicely into any one particular genre or another. The band bounces here between such sounds as soul, funk, rock, and goodness knows what else; it's a very eclectic mix of tracks, a total mixed bag of an album which comes complete with some absolute classics as well as some total stinkers.
The sound is always very basic here, at times you do forget that there are only two people in this band however and it does in fact sound like an awful lot more. At some points though it becomes very obvious that there are only two people present in this band and the music is held back markedly as a result of this. The album was released in 2005, and if you liked any of the bands first four albums then there's no guarantee that you'll like this one also; the music is very different here and before listening you must therefore expect the unexpected. Prepare to be shocked, prepare to scared, and ultimately prepare to make mighty use of your CD players skip function; some of the tracks present here are probably best avoided, and if you do skip past them then you will enjoy the listening experience a lot more than if you don't. If you're looking for something a bit different then this could well be an album for you, it's not a great album and a number of tracks present here are actually pretty terrible; some of the music you'll absolutely love however and it's these tracks that the album is therefore well worth listening to for.
Label: XL Recordings
Release Date: May 30th 2005
Price: £9.98 (Amazon.co.uk)
(This review was originaly posted in epinions.com on Jun 13 '05
and can also be found in associatedcontent.com and now also here..)
"Get Behind Me Satan" by The White Stripes
I surely did not realize how much I loved The White Stripes, until It was revealed that another c.d. was to be released by them. My anticipation grew, like a little boy who is told that he is about to go to Disneyland. Giddiness I tell ya. I often have certain movies or music that I just cant wait to encounter. Yet, when I found an advertisement saying: Get Behind Me Satan the new album by The White Stripes, dude I was struck like a squirrel trying to steal a nut. I mean I truly got giddy.
The Previous One
The White Stripes' previous album Elephant, was as perfect as a current rock c.d. can be. It was filled with rock and roll, blues, folk, and everything else but the kitchen sink. It was Havotic at its best and as sweet as something somber can be. It was music that was almost universal loved and also received a Grammy nomination. Elephant - The White Stripes
I believe it was about a couple days after its release that my lovely wife purchased this c.d. as a gift.(She always knows exactly what to get me.) I was ecstatic, and finally I was to hear new White Stripes music. ( I own all four of their previous c.d.'s) Blue Orchid their first single of this album, I had hear before and it was an electrically bizzar musical feeling. It was quite what I was expecting, good but quite different. Different it was, electric guitar playing and sound as if it's a chain saw and its tarring something up. Also, sounding like a futuristic sound. Jack White the band's lead singer, in the song is singing "How dare you!" "Get behind me!" in a falsetto voice that sound like he is mad and upset but at the same time pleading. This song caught my attention, put it in a vessel and did not want to release it. Also the song like a previous single of theirs was rapidly fleeting. (Fell in love with a Girl)
Odd it was, that when I heard the disk I enjoyed it, yet I felt awfully indifferent. I kept thinking back to Elephant and how it instantly made me feel its power and how it showed me no mercy. With this one however it was mild and passive in its trans.. So I segregated myself to particular songs that appealed to me and I was content.
Then what I did was just let the musical album play. It played and played and it grew. Growing into something much more than what I had expected. Something much more mature and full of insight.
Blue Orchid Track 1)
This is one of those songs that just tears up radio. It is much more different than everything but as addictive as the next best thing. Delightfully as Seven Nation Army but on steroids.
The Nurse (Track 2)
marimbas? Huh? At first it was intriguing but weird when you heard the drum pound so suddenly and then rapidly at different points in the song. Plus, the guitar felt so much out of place. Time, as time passed and more I listened, it all fell into place. The words fell into meaning and while at first its a song that you tolerate, it becomes a song that is deep and thoughtfully. One that never lets you down.
My Doorbell (Track 3)
"I've been thinking bout my doorbell, when you gonna ring it?"
The most infecting lyrics in this whole song. They are repeated over and over and its a catchy as I don't know what. What I love about it besides it being a fun song, it is the way that it seem more mature than most catchy songs.
Little Ghost (Track 5)
This hoedown of a song, is a delightfully country infused song about asking a ghost to find him a little bit of love. I love it because it's not only good but it says so much in a small time frame and also it is something that was rarely seen in their previous album. In other albums like De Stijl and White Stripes(self titled) you found songs that were much more catchy and fun. Yet still at the same time not all bubblegum.
The Denial Twist (Track 6)
This song remind me of The Hardest Button to Button from Elephant. It is Jack White laying it down with a frown and laying down mature ruff lyrics. It has a great drum beat and it sounds like folk, rock, blues, and rap, were all thrown in a barrel and this song came out.
Instinct Blues (Track 8)
If you seek to find something that sounds very much blues, then this song is about the only song that fits that description. It is blues enough to satiate your thirst. Makes you wish that this album had a bit more storms caused by blues.
Passive Manipulation (Track 9)
Who would have thunk it? Meg singin about incest.(Everyone) That was something. This a sweet sounding but at the same time under the current disturbing. I loved Meg singin in Cold Cold Night in Elephant and I was glad to have a change to hear her awkward voice again.
Take, Take, Take, (Track 10)
A song about stocking Rita Hayworth. This song about a stocker, is highly inventive and full of creative imagery about people that obsess over other people. How they love to just take, take, and oh yeah take. A song about me loving the White Stripes and that was all that I needed.
These song that I just mentioned are song that particularly stood out to me. The rest of the list are also great. "As Ugly as I Seem", "Forever for Her(Is Over For Me)", and "Im Lonely(But I ain't that Lonely Yet) at first were very redundant to me but as I explored the lyrics and gave them a chance, I found them to be just as good or even greater than the rest of the songs.
Red Rain (Track 12)
I loved this song. It is highly melodic and then again ruff and gruff. Very much reminds me of a mix between The Beatles and Radiohead. (I never said it made sense) It's an awesome song with great creativity in it.
To be able to full enjoy Get Behind Me Satan it will take diligence and determination. You, have to give it a chance to build up inside of you and grow like a flower that blooms. It surely did grow on me and I can see that I love The White Stripes and that was all that I needed.
by David Machado
Thank you for an excellent album, I have really enjoyed this and would definitely go looking for more now. Why didn't I listen sooner.
Tracks like Blue Orchid & My Doorbell, I love them. Makes me what to sing and dance around. It is good played in the car. I could go on, I don't often rave about music like this, I tend to stick to favourites, thank god for radio one showing me the way.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Blue Orchid
2 The Nurse
3 My Doorbell
4 Forever For Her
5 Little Ghost
6 The Denial Twist
7 White Moon
8 Instinct Blues
9 Passive Manipulation
10 Take, Take, Take
11 As Ugly As I Seem
12 Red Rain
13 I'm Lonely