The trail of stories that happened when everything fell apart and he had to start over anew: Jack White’s Blunderbuss was full of substance from the get-go, but some record label drama got in the way and White was forced to scrap his material nearly halfway through production.
No worries, though, because somehow the rocker found inspiration even through distress. “Love Interruption” was an instantly buoyant hit when it hit airwaves a little while ago, providing fans with only the slightest taste of what was to come with the steamy and lyrically testifying mo-town drive-in of a track. This song is more of a steamroller, slowly causing destruction with fierceness and strength.
This comforting divulgence wasn’t a sound we could marry, though, because Jack White has never been a one-trick pony. He’s a respected producer, an astounding musician and a young legend of rock & roll, having split off from The White Stripes years ago. There will always be surprises around the corner.
Before you’re ready for it, “Sixteen Saltines” grabs a hold of the listener and doesn’t let go for two and a half minutes. This electric thriller chants with brevity and recklessness toward a riveting finish before you’re ready to let go. This song grabs you and makes you not want to let go because it is a hard-rocking tale of coming-of-age happiness and misfortune.
Of course, there is the inevitable bit of weird: “Trash Tongue Talker” repeating the lines “It’s a bust folks/I’m not eating egg yolks/The old lady just kicked it/Like an ice cream cone she licked it” and “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” sounding like old Rolling Stone track for some odd reason.
By the end of Blunderbuss, White leaves the listener exhausted. Perhaps he knew his solo work was highly anticipated. Perhaps he dipped his hands into two many genre-bending cookie jars. It is almost always a treat — from the bluesy parlor jam “I Guess I’ll Take Off My Shoes” to the indie-alternative hipster jam “Freedom at 21 — but there is so much variation that it can leave you woozy, like stepping off a roller coaster. White takes no prisoners and makes no apologies, we know, but still it ultimately feels a little violating.
If White continues to make music on his own, there’s a chance that he’ll become more distinct in his individual sound. His flavor always adds a definitive texture to the songs and styles of other artists but remains varied in his own original trial at music making. He brought together Wanda Jackson and Amy Winehouse and it was brilliant. He nearly wrote a film script with Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi last year. It becomes apparent that Jack White’s skill set worked to his disadvantage across Blunderbuss’s landscape mainly because he was overqualified for this undertaking.
So this was his little project. Respectable, honorably diligent in its work, but also veiled in pride. The feeling is not enough to see past but enough to be noticed. That’s why Blunderbuss is simply great. And that’s okay. There’s legitimately, seriously, a guaranteed ‘always next time.’