Jack White: Blunderbuss

by Christian Redl

Rating: 4.5/5

Song To Look Out For: “Freedom At 21”

There have been very few artists in the contemporary age of rock n’ roll as prolific as Jack White. After forming three separate bands, Jack has finally ventured out on his own and created his first solo album under his record label, Third Man Records. Jack can easily be seen as the savior of rock, by bringing the genre back to its roots on this sublime album. It is a sweet collage of blues, country, and folk all wrapped up nicely with Jack’s signature flair.

With each project Jack White tackles, a new element seems to be added into the mix. With his solo album, the sound of the Hammond organ rings in a great deal of his tunes. The opening track, “Missing Pieces,” features it as the main accompaniment to a smooth guitar melody. A much more mellow track compared to Jack White’s previous bands, but it is unmistakably just as brilliant.

“Sixteen Saltines” is a song reminiscent of Jack’s days in The White Stripes, blending the blues with a heavy dose of punk rock attitude, ringing loudly with Jack’s guitar hooked up to his Digitech sound pedal. Although most of the album has a more melancholy quality, we are reminded that it’s never too late to turn it up on this track.

“Freedom At 21” and “Love Interruption” are tracks that encompass all of Jack White’s previous bands into one; the former being a bit faster in tempo and intensity, and the latter being an acoustic tribute to heartache and the pains of love. They seemingly are a bit jumbled, having so much going on with tonality and style, but like an artisan, Jack White has created a collage of styles that play off of each other, bringing the term “synergy” a sense of validity.

With the inclusion of the pedal steel guitar, country has a huge influence on Blunderbuss. With heartfelt lyrics, fiddles, and an acoustic guitar, Jack reminds us of rock n’ roll’s true origins, but also shows us how far we have come. “I’m Shakin” epitomizes this. Chunky drums and catchy lyrics give us rock in its truest form: soul with a chip on her shoulder.

In a forever-changing world, moving further and further towards digital music, Jack White shows us why analog and a good old-fashioned Gretsch guitar are still superior. Only he can release an album of such eclectic taste and have it easily be one of the best albums of the year.