The White Stripes Tengo Un Mes Estudiando Español Beck

When I was in grade school, baseball cards were all the rage. My friends would peel back the wrapper, pop a stick of petrified gum into their mouths, and thumb through the glossy cardboard hoping for one that would offset their subscriptions to Beckett. I never got it. My heroes didn't swing pine, they swung steel. They didn't wear cleats, they wore capes as red as the blood they spilled. That's right, I idolized not the ball player, but the toreador!

Strong, agile, mustachioed, bronzed, and dapper, the toreador is the Spanish prizefighter who out-classes all athletes. Any man can challenge another, but it takes a steadied slayer to best an agitated beast bent on goring anyone in its path.

Now, finally, I'll be able to relive those heady days spent Indian-style on my bedroom floor sorting my matador trading cards. All the greats are here: El Sloth, El Bianca Rosa, El Perdador! Unfortunately, my mother disposed of my cherished collection. Perra!

Those with less of a thirst for beauty, machismo, and tight pants than I will no doubt be more interested in the limited-edition 7-inch The White Stripes/Beck singles, with which the matador trading cards are included.

For the release of The White Stripes Spanish-tinged new single, "Conquest," the band is issuing three 7-inch records.

- On black vinyl: Side A "Conquest" Side B "It's My Fault For Being Famous"

- On white vinyl: Side A "Conquest" Side B "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap"

- On red vinyl: Side A "Conquest (Acoustic Mariachi Version)" Side B "Cash Grab Complications On The Matter"

The White Stripes collaborated on these B-sides with Beck, who, judging by his Guerro release, also has a taste for the spicier things in life. That funky little gringo added vocals and piano to "It's Not My Fault For Being Famous," slide guitar to "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap," and he is listed as co-producer of all three new tunes, which were recorded in his living room over sangria and a sack of gorditas.

Your matador trading cards (which happen to come with the records) will be released in the U.S. December 18.

The songs will also be available for download via iTunes.