Music Mondays #6

So last week was a bit underwhelming. The truth is I do not get the kind of exposure I would like to new music and trying to post weekly is proving a bit of a challenge. Do I really want to try and dredge up something obscure? Do I play it safe with battle tested bands?

What I had hoped was posting weekly would inspire me to search out new music but truthfully that is not happening. I attempt and most often I fail. I find very little new music that I love. The purpose of these posts is to share music I enjoy and think others will enjoy so it strikes me as absurd to shy away from music and musicians that I know well. That being said…

This week I am writing about Jack White. Kind of a household name at this point, undoubtedly not news to anyone. So why write about him? He’s interesting for one thing. Although I have not listened to The Upholsters (his first band) I am certain some of their music is good. I am mentioning them to explain their exclusion from this post.

The band he is most famous for, The White Stripes, has had plenty said about them already. For a two-piece band I am still shocked when I listen to songs like “Seven Nation Army” that they managed to disguise the instruments being played. For the longest time I would have sworn there was a bass in the song, delivering a bass line that drives the entire song and makes it so memorable.

As much as I like some of the early works of the band it truly is with their final studio album where this band started to evolve into something special. Get Behind me Satan is an excellent album filled with one great song after another. In thinking about what to try and share for this post I have continually changed my mind as to which particular song would best convey the album. Try as I might I cannot shun “The Denial Twist”. I debated using a lesser-known song but this one is too excellent not to share. I would like to point out that this version of the song does not feature the guitar at all, which for this band is a radical departure.

Next I would like to share the theme song that Jack White did with Alicia Keys – “Another Way to Die”. As I have posted earlier I think people should give the film this is attached to another chance (Quantum of Solace). Much like the film this song is a departure for the James Bond franchise. First it is a duet. Second it rocks. Not just a little either. This is a rocking, all out, not for your grandparents kind of song. The type of song I would have thought Chris Cornell would have attempted for the previous film but instead he adapted his singing to the traditional James Bond theme song and gave the world something utterly forgettable.

Whether you love this or hate it you will certainly remember “Another Way to Die”.

Next there is his work with one of his two “supergroups” The Raconteurs. They have released two albums and quite a few excellent songs. So much of the dynamic of The White Stripes, structuring the band around the playing style of Meg White, shaped what the band could do. With the Raconteurs these limitations are gone and the results are most enjoyable. Jack White shares lead vocal duties with Brendon Benson. Both of them bring something unique to the band and the songs where they alternate are quite good. There is not much more I can say, the band has a lot of talent and their sound is much more mainstream than The White Stripes.

The other “supergroup” which shares members with The Raconteurs, is The Dead Weather. Their sound is stranger, their music at turns more aggressive and contemplative but I find equally interesting and rewarding. They, too, have recorded two albums and released numerous videos of interest. One of their more accessible songs, “I Cut Like a Buffalo” has two videos. Both are odd. I am opting to share a different video here in the hope that since this post contains so many that I can get a little arty with you and it will be okay.

Finally we have Jack White recording music as a solo artist. I find the two albums he has recorded to be much like the early White Stripes records. They contain some excellent songs but they are, largely, uneven. I am posting one of the slower songs here because he does this just as well as the heavy, angst-ridden tracks we all know so well.

So that’s it, my rather long post about the bands of Jack White. I find him to be an inspiring and interesting musician at a time when most confuse or bore me. His company, Third Man Records, is devoted to breathing new life and interest in vinyl which is something I whole-heartedly support (if you have not seen it the documentary – “The Distortion of Sound” might win you over to the cause). His commitment to the pageantry and showmanship of his profession is commendable and I am thankful someone like Jack White is still out there doing his thing.

If you have not seen the documentary, “It Might Get Loud” I highly recommend it. Not only do you get to spend time with Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge but you get to see the three together talking and playing some music. It was this film that took my piqued my interest regarding Jack White. It might just do the same for you, too.

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