I am still mourning the passing of one of the great groups of the 90s and 00s, the White Stripes. I loved Jack’s appearance in Shine a Light and since Hello Operator popped up on the iPod in the car today, I figured I’d reminisce about early Stripes. What I concluded was that this early Stripes disk actually contains the roots of what made them great as well as the roadmap to their future albums to a great extent. As for their roots, Jack’s remake of Son House’s Death Letter is a fabulous and painful interpretation of this forgotten classic. The aforementioned Hello Operator is also a hard-driving blues number that has all the elements of Jack and Meg: driving drums with silent bits, Jack’s spare but versatile guitar playing (spare just because there is no bass but still lots of distortion and slide) as well as his mouth-harp at the end and the tongue in cheek lyrics. As far as being a roadmap, Apple Blossom looks towards future Stripes ballads on Get Behind Me Satan, Sister, Do You Know My Name echos of the future Raconteurs music, Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me sounds like the seeds for Seven Nation Army a bit, You’re Pretty Good Looking for a Girl reminds me of several compositions on White Blood Cells, Truth Doesn’t Make a Noise reminds me of Icky Thump…This is an incredible disk that is full of variety, surprise, humor and creativity and a must listen for understanding the importance of The White Stripes.
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