The White Stripes deliver

July 11, 2005, midnight | By Eve Gleichman | 18 years, 7 months ago

"Get Behind Me Satan" demonstrates musical diversity

"No I'm never, no I'm never, no I'm never gonna let you down now," Jack White promises in "The Nurse," a single from The White Stripes' latest release, "Get Behind Me Satan." He was true to his word. Though Jack and Meg White have held onto a reputation for producing unusual music, this eccentric pair has created an album that is truly in a unique world apart from any of their other releases.

The duo strays from their typical rhythmic simplicity and instead throws in a myriad of styles, including blues, electronic and even folk. Yet they have created a memorable album which stays true to their quirky tendencies.

The White Stripes

"Blue Orchid" kicks off the album, and is not only the best song on the album, but arguably the best track the White Stripes have ever produced. Jack's high pitched vocals coupled with his electronic-sounding guitar make for a thrilling opening that is unlike any preceding hit by the White Stripes. "The Doorbell" is another brilliant song on the CD, in which Jack sings over his own erratic piano chords and Meg's similar drumming.

"The Nurse" has elements comparable to the more recognizable sound the White Stripes have produced. The track simply features with Meg's blunt beats sounding behind Jack's wobbly vocals. "The Nurse" serves as brief break from the other bizarre pieces of the album. Similarly, "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)" provides solid verse and chorus melodies similar to older releases by the White Stripes, even if it is consequently not as interesting as most other pieces on "Get Behind Me Satan."

"I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" offers a bluesy sound, sans Meg, but does perfectly well with Jack's delicate, if slightly off key, vocals over his own keyboard progressions. Conversely, "Red Rain" is one of the more intense songs on the album, complete with heavier vocal distortion than any of the other songs, which exaggerate Jack's severe lyrics: "If there is a lie/then there is a liar, too/and if there is a sin/then there is a sinner, too."

Equally outstanding is "Take, Take, Take," one of the longer and more complex ballads on "Get Behind Me Satan," in which Jack narrates an imaginary run-in with screen icon Rita Hayworth ("She walked into the bar with her long, red, curly hair/and that was all that I needed").

Meg and Jack try their hands at bluegrass with the buoyant "Little Ghost," which describes a man who must resort to falling in love with an imaginary girl ("I'm the only one that sees you/and I can't do much to please you"), because of his desperate love life.

"White Moon" is a bit of a disappointment compared to the rest of the album. It is a dragging piece which never quite picks up speed, and doesn't do Jack's profound lyrics justice. Similarly, it is immediately clear that Meg should stick to drums and let Jack sing through "Passive Manipulation," an almost painful piece which she takes over.

With the exception of these two lapses, the White Stripes have created an album more unique and diverse than any of their previous releases. Not only does the pair make up for their slightly substandard preceding album, "Elephant," but they set the bar high for their future albums and prove that you never know what to expect with a couple as quirky as Meg and Jack White.

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