The White Stripes White Blood Cells

[Sympathy for the Recording Industry; 2001]

Styles: garage rock, blues rock, solid rock
Others: Son House, the Stooges, Loretta Lynn, Jesus Christ

Shit, this review is long overdue. But I'm assuming there are some laggards that have yet to experience the raw sounds created by duo Jack White and Meg White. Their garage-rock blues with a heavy does of punk and a touch of country that kicks dirt and sand in your eyes. The kind of music that seems so basic at first that you dismiss it as trite, but soon realize it's a hybrid that just keeps on spitting. Grab your ankles kids, the Stripes has a treat for you.

The strongest aspect of White Blood Cells is the fact that it flawlessly combines a myriad of genres into a beautiful mess. Sure, it's been done before: mix a few genres and hope for a unique album; but most often, the band fails to sound original or even remotely unique. However, the White Stripes sound original and unique-- not to mention incredibly fresh. The duo creates a breath of fresh air without sounding forced. It's hard to pinpoint what elements attribute to its success, but the Stripes has this fierce intensity and palpable rawness that most bands only dream of creating.

Sloppy is almost an understatement. Some songs, such as "Expecting" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" are so sloppy you'd think that they are practicing a new song. Strained notes here, missed beats there, it's as if the Stripes is trying to dirty its sound to the point that they are destined to only perform in bars and small clubs. But in reality, the sloppiness only adds positives to its foray into the music video world.

There really are no letdowns on the album. "Fell in Love With a Girl" is one of the strongest tracks, with its punk rock beat and spastic vocal styling by Jack White. The song needs less than 2 minutes to hit you with a bat and throw you in the trunk of a BMW. "Now Mary" sees the band playing with moods, switching from heavy metal classic-rock to a country-tinged chorus that will have you swaying your hips with the best of them. Each track is laced with incredible visceral energy and pay just enough homage to its forebear.

With White Blood Cell's amount of variety, I'll leave the rest of the analysis to you. If you have yet to experience the album, go and grab it as soon as you can. It may take a couple listens to adjust to Jack White's vocals and the slicing guitars, but you shant regret it once you do. And if you do have the album and know a friend that doesn't, it makes for a good birthday present.

1. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
2. Hotel Yorba
3. I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman
4. Fell in Love With a Girl
5. Expecting
6. Little Room
7. The Union Forever
8. The Same Boy You've Always Known
9. We're Going to Be Friends
10. Offend in Every Way
11. I Think I Smell a Rat
12. Aluminium
13. I Can't Wait
14. Now Mary
15. I Can Learn
16. This Protector

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