More ramblings on my fave albums this year.

9. Icky Thump – The White Stripes

I completely gave up on this band until I heard the first single and title track on Icky Thump. The riff sounded like a machine gun, Jack White howling over the top. Like John Spencer says – the blues are number one.

I love the guitar playing on this record. It’s so up front on this record, in ways it hasn’t been in the life of Jack White in a while.

But what makes the White Stripes so awesome is the myth of the White Stripes. They are these almost Chaplin musical characters. They are mariachi spaghetti westerners on Conquest. They are Oliver Twist style hoarders in Rag & Bone. They have their own little (red and white) world so wrapped up. You either have to dive right in or leave the party.

Lyrically too, Jack is on fire and having a lot of fun. “In some respects I suspect you have a respectable side” he sings on You Don’t Know What Love Is. And the highlight, the last track, Effect & Cause is beautiful, playful fuck-you to an ex.

When I first heard the White Stripes, I was so taken with these odd siblings and their candy striped madness. And it’s a feeling that’s come and gone over the years. But this record brings it all back. Even after having become superstars and tabloid fodder, listening to Icky Thump still makes me go “wow, who are these guys?”

I’m still excited to find out.


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