Jack White – Blunderbuss
From the man whose first band, The Upholsterers, was named after his profession at the time; the genius behind The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather; the actor; the documentary participant (It Might Get Loud); the producer; the innovator behind Third Man Records… comes the exquisite Blunderbuss, the first solo album of a certain Jack White.
We are treated to so much goodness within these thirteen songs. On first listen, I was expecting good things from this well established musician, and I was far from disappointed. Met expectations? Exceeded them, by a long distance.
The album kicks off with Missing Pieces, the beginning of which is so catchy you will be humming it all day long. The bluesy lilt, and Jack’s clever composition of words immediately suck you in – if you stop listening at this point, I’ll eat all my hats.
Sixteen Saltines is a noisy, intense, angry thing of a song – just what we expect from Jack at some point within any album with his influence.
Moving on quickly to Freedom At 21. When I first listened to this, it took me a while to get into it, I admit. For me, it’s possibly the weakest song on the album. Having said that, it nicely features Jack’s signature “scratchy guitar sound”, as I like to describe it!
Love Interruption. Ahh! Now, I’d already heard this song a lot of times before the album was released, so I knew I loved it already. Listening as part of an album is always a different experience, though… it fits perfectly before the title track. A cynical approach to love, clever lyrics that shock in places. This alone would have won the five stars for me!
The next three songs (Blunderbuss, Hypocritical Kiss, and Weep Themselves To Sleep) provide us with piano and strings in abundance… beautiful, quirky perfection.
It’s always good to hear Jack showcase his influences, and his version of I’m Shakin’ by Little Willie John (written by Rudy Toombs) is no exception to this. There’s an old quality to the song, even though he’s approached it in a typical Jack way, and the harmonies provided by Ruby Amanfu work perfectly.
Trash Tongue Talker is like being punched in the face with music. This is modern Blues at its very best! It’s my favourite song from the album. I won’t go on about it!
Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is about Meg. I doubt anyone would try to dispute that. I can’t help wondering what she thinks about it, or if she’s even listened to the album!
Jack finishes with a trio of Blues masterpieces – I Guess I Should Go To Sleep (featuring the deep tones of Pokey LaFarge), On and On and On, and Take Me With You When You Go (my favourite part of which is the fiddle).
By the time you get to the end of this album, you will want to listen again – immediately. Do it.
Best Album Of 2012? I think so!