Album Review: Jack White – Blunderbuss

By on Monday, 23rd April 2012 at 12:00 pm

‘Blunderbuss’! I mean, what a name for an album; it conjures up images of old fashioned battlefields and a wall of sound thundering towards you. Now *that* is what I expect from the album then, you’ve got yourself a hard sell their Jackie boy! That said, this is Jack White, stepping out on his own for the very first time, to record his first solo record.

On first listen, it’s classic coming out music: the lyrics are all about collapsed relationships and loves lost. It begins with some classic Jack White honkytonkery. It goes on to be a bit more miserable throughout, describing his love life as a battered affair of break ups and broodiness.

Throughout the theme seems to be that Jack has given up on the more dangerous (female) of the species. For one, the track ‘Missing Pieces’. “Sometimes someone controls everything about you / and when they tell you that they just can’t live without you / they ain’t lying, they’ll take pieces of you / and they’ll stand above you, and walk away / that’s right, and take a part of you with them” – sounds like a man whose given up on love, it seems. But a man still with that fine eye for music that you just don’t find everywhere anymore.

It seems though that while the White Stripes are dead, some of the brilliance born from that fatal mismatch of character still goes on brilliantly. The guitar keys are none too familiar to anything that we’ve heard from Jack in the past and good on it, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? His of the wall almost proggy riffs are what we have come to love about the Tennessee songsmith, while his complete disregard for classic musical structure is almost his biggest charm as a musician. Throughout ‘Blunderbuss’ you’re treated to a musical tapestry, from his cover of Little Willie John’s ‘I’m Shakin’ to his simply fantastic mastery of an electric guitar throughout the record.

Frankly it’s difficult to find fault in this piece; the only criticism is something which has always been to do with Jack White. That is, his music is marmite. You either love the pale faced crooner on this album or any other of his works. Or you simply can’t stand to listen to the Southerner’s squealing guitar.

I, for one, am a massive fan and I can see ‘Blunderbuss’ for sure being the start of an exemplary solo career.


‘Blunderbuss’, Jack White’s first album as a solo artist, is out today on XL. White plays the HMV Forum in London tonight and sorry folks, it’s sold out. Below is an interview Jack White did with NPR about the new release.

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