Movie Reviews


The White Stripes | Elephant
Review by Jade Jett




Damn that Jack White.

Although The White Stripes newest offering, Elephant, will surely go down as one of the best CD's of 2003, it could very well lead to an early grave. It makes you want to do bad things. For example smoke, imbibe heavily and frequent seedy bars with dirt floors and wooden counters. Forget the fact that you might have just quit smoking or aren't much of a drinker because Elephant provides the backdrop for all things bad for your health. Any true smoker will agree that the mark of a good song is if it passes the cigarette test; if it makes you want to light up when you hear it. For those of you who've recently quit, I suggest you stay far, far away from this CD.

Elephant disarms while it stomps across well-tread territory, making no apologies for its blatant appropriation. This isn't just petty theft, but a full scale pillage of the hallowed ground tilled by legendary players of every stripe - Hendrix, Zeppelin and Sabbath to Robert Johnson, Roy Orbison and the swaggering New York sweat drip of The Stooges.

But who really cares? Not Jack White. He doesn't give a shit if your parents think he's aping the soundtrack to their generation! He's here to rock out. And he succeeds.

What would seem to be an innocuous rock n' roll clone of an album upon first listen proves to have a bright beating heart of its own. Regardless of how Jack White got to his destination, the ride is just as sweet.

Elephant opens with the tribal, heart-pounding bass line of "Seven Nation Army," a riff so primal it assures the creation of a legion of guitar wannabes, spelunking away for many a bleeding fingered, sleepless night. Add the operatic gospel sneer of "There's No Home For You Here" and the dirty delta-blues crunch of "Ball And Biscuit" and you have an album that gets clotted in your veins. A serious heart attack waiting to happen.

Elephant doesn't address the universal themes of love and loss so much as it keeningly flops around; an unstable emotionally ragged mess. When Jack White's voice sobs with rawness, rising to a pitchfork wail of desperation on the Burt Bacharach remake, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" you wish you could reach out and give the boy a hug and let him know that everything's gonna be alright. All is forgiven. Thank you Jack. For bringing messiness, late night inspiration and sweet temptation to the forefront. What would life be without these necessary evils?

God Bless The White Stripes. God Bless Jack White.

The Emilyism©






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