September 27, 2006


A Star Trying to Hide in Plain Sight (KELEFA SANNEH, 9/27/06, NY Times)

[Jack] White isn’t the kind of guy who can slip unnoticed into a proficient four-piece band. He still has that ferocious, catlike scream; he still has that tendency to push a song off-kilter with a thunderous, wobbly guitar solo; he still looks like a star, even when (as in nearly every Raconteurs photograph) he’s trying hard to blend into the background. On Monday the band members acknowledged Mr. White’s overwhelming presence by pointedly declining to acknowledge it. [...]

Their best-known song, “Steady, as She Goes,” is one of the year’s biggest alt-rock hits; it topped Billboard’s modern-rock chart earlier this year. And they saved it for the encore, where it provided one of the night’s most memorable images. Mr. White and Mr. Benson shared a microphone near the end, leaning into each other as the song’s jaunty bass line went around and around.

“Broken Boy Soldiers” is an album that doesn’t cover its tracks: “Hands” has a vocal harmony that recalls the prog-rock classic “I’ve Seen All Good People,” by Yes; “Level” begins with some synthesizer notes that evoke the new-wave pioneer Gary Numan (and also, perhaps accidentally, Korn); “Together” swipes a melodic phrase from Elton John’s “Rocket Man”; and “Steady, as She Goes” shares that jaunty bass line with the Joe Jackson hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”

It’s a warm, well-made album, but not an especially memorable one.

Even if you're a fan, you can't help but notice thast his most memorable project is Van Lear Rose, with a genuine star.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 27, 2006 12:00 AM

I've plugged it before, but the DVD of the White Stripes Live at Blackpool is worth seeing if you like loud bluesy slide guitar rock.

Posted by: ted welter at September 27, 2006 9:44 AM

It's official, I've become my dad, who famously tuned pop music out after Duke of Earl. I don't know who any of these people are.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 27, 2006 4:13 PM