Today is an eclectic but interesting album, “Elephant” by the band the White Stripes. They were a two-person act, Jack White and Meg White who were former spouses who represented themselves as brother and sister. I’m not sure what to make of any of that, but it is an intriguing album that has grown on me over several listens. This record is rated as #449 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The record opens with their most well-known song, “Seven Nation Army”, which has transitioned from a definitive rock track to an omni-present stadium chant along at sporting events around the world. The main riff of the song is recognizable to all generations, whether or not they have any actual recognition of the White Stripes or this song. Oddly enough, it isn’t one of my favorites and I actually like many other songs on this record better, but it certainly is a career-changing song for the band and their primary creative influence, Jack White.
“Black Math” is a more intense and punk-ish track that is a great rocker. “There’s No Home For You Here” reminds me a lot of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, by Cage the Elephant, which didn’t come out until 2009. I didn’t expect to see Burt Bacharach in the songwriting credits for this album, so I suppose Austin Powers would be very proud, but “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” is an enjoyable and slow wander.
“In The Cold, Cold Night” is a very cool and subdued track, that features drummer Meg White on lead vocals. “I Want To Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother’s Heart” reminds me a little of Meat Loaf and/or Three Dog Night with its organ-based opening, but it is a pretty warming song regardless of its legacy or origin. “Ball and Biscuit” is a “Exile on Main Street” feel blues track that really showcases Jack White and his talent as a guitarist. If you have never seen “It Might Get Loud” and you enjoy the art of playing guitar, I highly encourage this documentary that features White alongside Jimmy Page and The Edge as they compare notes and sounds and talk and play through their thoughts on rock guitar. It is a must-watch for all rock guitar fans, and all three of them shine with their talent and diverse sounds.
The album has several other good songs, and it concludes with the happily ridiculous “Well It’s True That We Love One Another”. Featuring vocalist Holly Golightly along with Jack and Meg White, they channel the Mamas and Papas for this hilarious acoustic story-song. It took a few listens to really dig in, but this album reinforces that some music is more of an acquired taste than an immediate home run. I enjoy both experiences, just as I really liked this album.