Jack White’s debut solo album, Blunderbuss, is currently streaming free on iTunes. I make no secret of my fondness for Jack White, my favorite contemporary rock star. I’ve listened to the album twice now and here are my track by track impressions of Blunderbuss.
*DISCLAIMER* I have an extremely limited musical background (I failed both the saxophone and trumpet in successive years in middle school) and therefore do not possess an encyclopedian knowledge of rock n’ roll jargon or history. These are simply a layman’s thoughts.
Right out of the gate, very “White Stripesy.” White employs his familiar vocal inflections with a nice groove and a mini guitar solo on the back end of this song.
White played this on SNL, so I’ve heard it before and LOVE IT. It’s loud, guitar and drum heavy, with a bunch of distortion and feedback, a stereotypical Jack White track(and I mean that in a good way).
Freedom at 21
Still a lot of guitar, the lyrics come out almost machinegun-like, with another strong, this time sporadic, sounding guitar solo.
The maiden single from Blunderbuss. The song basically plays as a duet with a White and a female singer (on SNL he played this song with an all female band as well). Very sweet and tender sounding, which juxtaposes the lyrical content like “I want love to, murder my own Mother.”
The track that shares its name with the album, is very reminiscent of The White Stripes song “Same Boy I’ve Always Known.” I think it has a similar timbre (good word, huh) or something. It’s acoustic and employs some violins (I think they’re violins , at least).
Starts with a fancy sounding piano. What sticks out most to me about this song is its emphasis on piano rather than White’s trademark guitar.
Weep Themselves to Sleep
The most different sounding song on the album so far. Slight distortion in the vocals and more piano. I do dig the sound though, and there it is, the distorted guitar solo that made Jack White famous.
A real 1950s rock n’ roll vibe coming from this, I attribute it to the background vocals, the hand clap and the way the guitars compliment the vocals.
Trash Tongue Talker
The arrangement of the song is interesting. It goes slow, almost blatant verse to an uptempo piano reprieve, and repeats, until it ends with the two mashed up, seemingly fighting over each other.
Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
A brighter, lighter sounding track than anything else on the album. Really has an upbeat, happy vibe to it.
I Guess I should Go To Sleep
A real old school folksy blues sounding track, it kind of reminds me of Johnny Cash’s sound. Another piano heavy track.
On and On and On
Somewhere this album veered away from the “White Stripsey” sound and got much softer and more melodic. I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing it out, it hadn’t really hit me till now though.
Take Me With You When You Go
More piano. More fiddles. And look at that, a return to his distinctive, distorted, feedback heavy guitar.
It’s hard to give an opinion on an album after just two listens when anticipation and exceptions can cloud your first impression. For example, I hated Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak after I first heard it but now I feel like it’s one of the most underrated hip hop albums of all time. However, I do feel comfortable saying Blunderbuss is probably not as good as The White Stripe’s Elephant or White Blood Cells. But it is definitely worth a spin or two.