The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Yes, 2007 was the year that The White Stripes came back with a bang…after the mixed reviews of ‘Get Behind Me Satan’, along with Meg’s modelling career, and Jack’s success in The Raconteurs, people were beginning to suspect that everything was over for the Stripes!! Out of nowhere, however, came the album that was recorded in 3 weeks, and that is one of the strongest White Stripes albums to date.
‘Icky Thump’ sees the band reverting back to the classic White Stripes formula – the heavy guitars and strong beats, replacing the more experimental, acoustic /piano approach seen on the previous album…and with this came the returning media praise, the ones who had criticised the ‘unfinished’ tone of ‘GBMS’.
It is shocking to think that the band recorded this album in three weeks, as it sounds so polished…so perfect, that it almost leaves me speechless as to how Jack White could do this…but the fact is, is that he can do this!!!
In terms of its musical quality, ‘Icky Thump’ is a stomping rock album, with different musical flourishes and experiments thrown in…see the synths on the title track, the trumpet on ‘Conquest’, and especially the bagpipes on ‘Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn’ and ‘St. Andrew’!!! Not something you would expect to hear on a White Stripes album, but they all work and fit together amazingly well! It is also nice to hear the slide guitar being brought back again more on this album, in particular on ‘Catch Hell Blues’ – a thundering slice of blues-rock…as well as the dirty rock of songs like ‘Bone Broke’ and ‘Little Cream Soda’, the guitars sounding better than ever!!!
At the same time, Jack White has written some more anthemic songs; ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’, ‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’ and ‘Rag and Bone’, all have the makings of classic live songs – they capture the listener’s attention, and hold it throughout the whole album! The mixture of songs on ‘Icky Thump’ is perfectly formed, and makes this one of the strongest albums of the year, purely based on the strength of all the tracks!!!
For me, it seems hard to imagine a bad White Stripes album, and i’m glad that the band have come back with an album so strong – you could forgive Jack and Meg for perhaps not having their hearts in it anymore, due to their various distractions and the almost constant criticism of certain aspects of the band (i.e. Meg’s drumming, which is on fine form here!)…but this album is a testament to their dedication, and shows just how well the two of them work together.
Thinking about the bigger picture, this just makes me more excited for the new Raconteurs album, as this suggests that Jack White is in supreme form, as his guitar playing is mesmerising on this album, as are his music and lyrics!
So, i don’t think i could praise this album much more – it is just a great album, and all i can say now is, “Thank God for Jack White”!!! 😉