Maynard’s Shockingly Truthful Review: Jack White ‘Blunderbuss’
This is the one we’ve all been waiting for….Jack White’s long awaited “solo” album. Despite being the driving musical force behind The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, ‘Blunderbuss’ marks Jack’s first release under his own name.
If You Only Download One Track: “Weep Themselves To Sleep” it may be his masterpiece.
Hot Fire Of Truth: Many of our elder rock luminaries (Chris Cornell, Billy Corgan et al) have declared in various forms that rock is dead.
I don’t share that opinion. I do think however that rock is in some sort of medically induced coma or hibernative state.
What we need is a hero…a champion…one album to shake us all from our slumber. What we need is Cobain….”Nevermind”….one album that will shift the musical landscape and change the game.
Music lovers look to one of the most creative voices in the business for hope….Jack White….Blunderbuss.
Is Jack White’s Blunderbuss the game changer? No.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic record and you should buy it. You will really enjoy it. In fact, there are a few songs on “Blunderbuss” that will blow you away.
And It’s is def not just a White Stripes record, or a Raconteurs record. It’s at once both of those and neither of those. It’s purely Jack White. In an interview, Jack said that these songs could only be released under just his name, not under the banner of one of his many other acts. I kind of laughed that off, but after listening I agree with him. He made the right call. Also, this album has a cohesiveness to it that I can liken only to “Sgt. Pepper”- these songs BELONG together without necessarily being dependent on one another.
That said it’s not the game changer many were hoping for.
If it’s so good, then why isn’t Jack the Savior?
Well, a two reasons really. First, the voice that will hopefully be the clarion call to the rock world will most likely come from someone totally unknown. That’s historically how it works. Though this is Jack White’s first solo venture, it’s far from his first go ’round.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, there are no “hits” on this album.
Before you slam your lap top shut and get mad at me, read me out here: Whether or not anyone likes this, “hits” are important. They bring us together. They are the gateway by which most people find a new band. “Hits” are how the game changes. Sure there are acts that make incremental changes without a “hit”….Sex Pistols, Zepplin, etc….but the acts that have turned the musical world on it’s ass have done so with songs that get the attention of not just a devoted cult group, but with almost everyone.
Think about it, from the dawn of Rock time- from Elvis to the Beatles to the mighty Nirvana those tracks/ albums that have slammed us in the face and gotten us all excited did so through the “hit”. It was “I Wanna Hold You Hand” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that got our attention, not “Baby It’s You” and “Sappy”.
So if “Blunderbuss” is so great and the songs so good, why am I saying there’s no hit? Because there just isn’t.
Funny thing about a “hit”, everyone knows what they sound like but creating one deliberately is all but impossible. There’s a certain magic intangible in them that draws us in; though the tracks on Blunderbuss are great, none of them have that magical trans-formative quality.
I’m not sure Jack White set out to change the game or to even create a hit. I don’t think that dude is wired up that way. I think he wrote some terrific songs and recorded them and shared them with us- and I’m glad he did. Of all the CD’s I’ve bought in the last month, this is the one I’m enjoying most.
No shame lies with Jack for not having woken rock from it’s coma. The shame lies with those of us who expected him to.