Thursday, May 26, 2005

First Impressions Of The White Stripes' "Get Behind Me Satan"

From an advance vinyl issue:

Blue Orchid: This is pure glam rock. A cross between T-Rex and Lenny Kravitz. Jack socks it to you with his best falsetto right up front. Driving bass drum. Gritty-ass-low-down-dirty guitar tone. Cymbals like gravy over the second half of the verses. Sounds like he's not too happy she took his "wild orchid and turned it blue." Renee, how could you do this to little Jackie-boy? Final notes go right over the precipice.

Quickly turns in to "The Nurse". Xylophone(several) throughout the whole damn thing, accented by the guitar/bass drum/cymbal explosion. Is this a concept album? The one that once cared for him has up and gone. "No I'm never, no I'm never, no I'm never gonna let you down." Huh? Sounds like somebody got let down. Sparse rooster guitar sounds. Another one that concludes by dropping right off the edge.

My Doorbell: Bouncy beat. Not a blues chord structure, but repeating the phrase "I've been thinking about my doorbell. When you gonna ring it?", makes it sound that way. Chunky piano chords are in the drivers seat. Vocals up front one minute, way in the back the next. He must have been doing that famous Jack White electric slide inside vocal booth. No guitar to be found. Slow fade out.

Forever For Her(Is Over For Me): This is a concept album. Jack's had his heart broken and it doesn't sound like he was prepared to call it quits. His hands are tied, but he's also at the end of his rope. Great line: "Forever for her is just a word that means never." Song filled with frustration. Another xylophone and piano based tune. Maracas sprinkled very liberally peppering both verse and chorus. Tinkling xylophone till the end. Again, no guitar.

Little Ghost: Count it off, bwoy! Acoustic guitar, Jack, and beats on the back of an acoustic. I don't think the "pops" from my advance vinyl copy will be on your cd. Verse melody & chords are a total cop of Dylan's "I Believe In You". Lyrics describing an argument? Two people wanting different things. Can't figure this one out.

The Denial Twist: Piano, drums, and more maracas. Soft electric guitar in the bridge. Sounds like Jack is jumping on the keys of the piano. Following a nice Rock & Roll template. Breaks down after each chorus. Staccato instruments under the verses. Great song, I really like this one.

White Moon: Tortured semi-ballad played on a grand piano. More maracas. At one point it sounds like a tambourine gets thrown across the studio in disgust, hitting the wall . Finds Jack once again pining for a woman(Rita) that he cannot have. Renee must have driven an 18 wheeler right through Jacks heart. Poor Jackie, poor Jackie.

Instinct Blues: Power blues! Laying down a suppressive guitar line. Rapid fire at times. Loud guitar, sometimes played quietly. Pickin' off the birds one by one. Classic wailing Jack vocals and guitar lines. Chaos rules this number. Gatlin gun finale that explodes in to...

Passive Manipulation: A 40 second cautionary tale for all the ladies in the house from sweet, sweet Meg. Piano, tambourine, and drums.

Take, Take, Take: This is classic White Stripes. Another mention of Rita(Hayworth). R=Renee. A bitter Jack screams TAKE! TAKE! TAKE! Finally realizing all he needs are the simple things. Recounts and encounter with a movie star from the point of view of a(obsessive?) fan. More acoustic guitar, piano, drums, and tambo. Some tympani thrown in for good measure.
Along with Blue Orchid, one of my favorite. Here's a link:

As Ugly As I Seem: Backwoods acoustic sing along. Double-tracked vocals from Jackie(one high, one low) and I think I hear Meg buried down deep. Sounds like a negro spiritual. Won't someone please scare up some love for our poor heartbroken Jack.

Red Rain: Searing hot electric guitar tone with some slip 'n slide guitar work. Our hero is caught is a pretty bad rain storm. Vocals buried below the wall of guitar amps. Clanky children's piano thrown in for good measure.

I'm Lonely(But I Ain't That Lonely Yet): The grand piano finale. Just Jack and his keys. He's hurtin' bad. Part LeadBelly's "In The Pines", part Hank Williams' "Lonesome Whistle". Somber and sad. Desperate, but not rock bottom yet. Going down fast, though. Excellent tune and a wonderful close to a "love gone wrong" album.

So, there ya have it. Not your typical White Stripes album by any stretch of the imagination. The top, middle, and bottom have the most memorable songs(Orchid, Take, Denial, & Lonely...and Megs song is nice too). I've read comparisons to Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks". Don't know if it's quite that classic, but certainly filled to the brim with heartache. A big left hand turn for the band. Shows them mixing it up a great deal from their previous recordings. Interested in hearing these songs live.
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iPod Song of the day: Star Spangled Banner from the Jimi Hendrix boxed set Stages


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