on August 29, 2005
Listen, I've been a drummer for about 5 years now. And not to sound cocky, but I'm pretty damn good. And I can tell by listening to other drummers if they are good or not. Yes, Meg White's drumbeats are not hard one bit. They are probably the easiest drumbeats ever caught on tape. But that does not mean they are bad. They fit these songs perfectly. Jack has said it himself; if she was trying to be a hotshot drummer like most other drummers, it would not work. She blends perfectly. So shut the hell up, Meg bashers.
Now that I got my little rant out, I can now say that this is one of my favorite albums of all time. I never get sick of this album. I can rock out to this any time I want; in the car, at a party, in my room, etc. This music is completely infectious. From the opening guitar in "Seven Nation Army" to the rather amusing ending to "Well It's True That We Love One Another," I feel hypnotized (no tie-in intended).
Jack White, whether you want to admit it or not, is an amazing guitarist. The things this guy can do never fail to astound me. He has some solos on this disc that are almost Hendrix-worthy. His vocals are also incredibly powerful. He isn't the greatest singer in the world, and he doesn't need to be. Like Meg's drumming, his voice fits this music perfectly. Let's go through the songs, shall we?
"Seven Nation Army" - The perfect opening to this album. A very hypnotic guitar part and some great lyrics. Meg's drums sound incredibly powerful in this one. I personally think it was worth the radio play that it got.
"Black Math" - One of the hardest rockin' songs on this album. The vocals are stinging, and the slight tempo change in the middle is really cool. This is even better when played live.
"There's No Home For You Here" - Whenever someone asks me what my favorite song on this album is, I always have an argument with myself between 3 or 4 songs, and this is one of them. The harmonies between Jack and...Jack are great. They almost sound like Beatles harmonies. His guitar is rarely more powerful. Just a completely kick-ass song.
"I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" - Another one of my favorite songs. The mellow parts are very good, and the ending is very fitting. Only Jack and Meg can turn a Dusty Springfield song into this.
"In the Cold, Cold Night" - The most hypnotic song on the album. Meg's vocals totally bring you out of your world and into theirs. They're just so darn mesmerizing. The organ adds a nice touch.
"I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart" - A very nice song with meaningful lyrics. Guys, don't we all remember the girlfriend's mom we tried to win over? Excellent slide guitar solo in the middle, I might add.
"You've Got Her In Your Pocket" - Excellent heartfelt ballad with awesome guitar playing and vocals. The only Stripes song to ever feature only one of them.
"Ball and Biscuit" - 7 minutes and 23 seconds of pure brilliance. 4 amazing guitar solos that would make Eddie Van Halen drop his jaw. Great bluesy lyrics and solid drumming. Even Bob Dylan was impressed with this song. Enough to bring Jack on stage in one of his concerts to perform it (no joke!). I could listen to this all day.
"The Hardest Button to Button" - The White Stripes have bass in one of their songs!! Don't worry, they aren't selling out. The bass really adds to the attitude of this song. The absolute best thing are the lyrics. They are so odd, yet they walk on the edge of ingenious. Good job, Jack.
"Little Acorns" - Yes, the opening is a little weird, but it ties in with the song. The guitar is greatly heavy.
"Hypnotize" - Jack and Meg made this song short and sweet. It goes by quick, but every second is hypnotizing (once again, no pun intended).
"The Air Near My Fingers" - Another one of my absolute favorites on this album. The lyrics are very good and the guitar is just plain awesome. I love the rockin' organ as well.
"Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine" - Don't let the title turn you off. I can't explain how awesome this song is. It is probably the single hardest rockin' song on the album. The lyrics are sung very fast, but they are brilliant. I could listen to this song all day.
"Well It's True That We Love One Another" - Yes, they probably could have found a better way to close out the album, but this isn't necessarily a bad choice. Some of the lines are pretty funny, and everyone gets in on the fun.
If you couldn't tell by now, I frickin' love this album to death. The White Stripes are brilliant and I can't wait to see them live in September. So don't listen to all the Meg-haters. If you appreciate good music whatsoever, get "Elephant." I don't think you'll be disappointed.
on April 9, 2003
It's the same White Stripes you've always known. Great garage rock mixed with folky acoustic songs. Somewhat odd song titles and somewhat odd lyrics. Still no bass (the "bass" on Seven Nation Army is actually a guitar). And who's complaining? Not a soul.
Despite how similar Elephant is to the rest of the White Stripes catalogue (in a couple instances songs even partially use the exact same chords and melodies as songs from White Blood Cells), it does show continued musical maturation and experimentation. In addition to longer, more creative solos, songs such as Black Math, There's No Home For You Here, and Ball and Biscuit show some changes to the White Stripes sound. Black Math juxtaposes a punk rock chord riff with a more heavy metal sounding guitar (like the acoustic and electric in Now Mary from White Blood Cells). There's No Room For You Here is almost a rewrite of Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground until the music breaks off and there is only feedback and the chorus sung in harmony. Ball and Biscuit contains a classic blues riff repeated over and over, until it bursts into an amazing blistering solo. These songs are different from the normal White Stripes formula (is there such a thing?), and provide even more evidence of Jack White's songwriting skill.
Some fans of the hard garage rock songs may be turned off by the softer, acoustic/piano songs on here. There are three; You've Got Her in Your Pocket, In the Cold, Cold Night, and Well It's True That We Love One Another. Well It's True (a country sing-a-long type song, with Jack, Meg, and Holly singing to each other about Jack's love for Holly) is the worst song on the album, because of it's novelty. The others, however, are good acoustic songs, much like Hotel Yorba from White Blood Cells, although not as great. Even if you don't like these types of songs, I think the strength of the electric material would outweigh the acoustic, and you would like the album anyway.
The White Stripes have done it again. Another great garage rock album you can listen to on a day when you feel like banging your head and air guitaring (or playing real guitar, depending), without skipping a track. Any fan of White Blood Cells should buy Elephant without hesitation.
on February 28, 2003
There are things in life that we just don't want to see change because they're so damn good the way they are. They're comfort food for the soul. The White Stripes are such comfort food for me. Following up the massive breakout record White Blood Cells they've given us another fabulous record that bleeds classic White Stripes sound. . The title, Elephant, was chosen because the animal represents their personalities: regal, innocent, compassionate, and subtle. The musical rules are loosened a bit from the previous record's tight restrictions, but it's hardly anything new, even in the world of Jack and Meg White. IN the end it's still all about guitar and drums, indistinct relationships, and red and white outfits.
Jack's confidence as a songwriter really shows through. It's as Jack has stated an album about the death of the sweethearts (note the dying country lovers the album cover depicts) and, for the most part, the songs center around the ways of love, relationships, commitment and the rules that govern going about them. Nothing too new here, much like a lot of White Blood Cells lyric wise; personal with keeping enough hidden to still be mysterious.
The musical structure is quite familiar, but there's enough "new" elements to satisfy. They're quite comfortable with themselves and their musical formula and they should be because it works quite well. The first single and lead track "Seven Nation Army" kicks in with a false bass groove (guitar w/ pedal effect) and kicks the album to a charging start with the usual charging blues based riffs that have become Jack's trademark. The loud riffing continues on such songs as the building then bombastic "Hardest Button to Button", the crunching "Little Acorns", and the punk, could be hit single "Hypnotize". Then there's the softer side of Jack White with the acoustic, tender "You've Got Her in Your Pocket" and "Cold, Cold Night", which has Meg takes over on vocals.
The record just reminds me why the White Stripes are so much beyond just another garage revival band (not that the rest of the bands are without merit). Even with all the relationship rumors that float around the band and their personas they never pretend to be something they're not. Even with their simplistic musical styles they're still put out more a more interesting sound than the rest of the lot. The slow going evolution of Jack White's songwriting is certainly something to be excited about and I think they've yet to make their best record, but this one is pretty damn close if not.
on May 17, 2003
Not being a big fan of low-fi garage rock, or Jack White's singing voice, I thought The White Stripes' last album was overrated. I bought Elephant with reservations and was delighted to find a much stronger, groovier, and more musical album that retains the punk attitude of White Blood Cells but ups the songwriting, production and performance ante.
Jack White's frequently offkey, whiny singing sounds more polished on this record, doing much more singing than shouting, and it's a welcome change. His voice is still more about attitude and urgency than body or finesse, but it just sounds so much better on Elephant. But it's the songwriting and arrangement that really make this record shine: The positively primordial riff to "Seven Nation Army" stuck to my head for days, the 'Black Sabbath Vol. 4' guitar sludge of "Black Math" is aggressive and rocks out like a maniac, the cover of "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" outdoes Elvis Costello's version thanks to an unusually sensitive and soulful Jack White lead vocal, and "Ball and Biscuit" taps into the deep grooves of the best classic-rock bands. There's a heavy Stones/Zeppelin vibe to this record that's highly suitable to the ragged soul of The White Stripes, hitting that groove which only blues and blues-based rock can muster.
A great record for the year, showing major progression for this band.
on March 7, 2003
For all of you who've been waiting for the "new Nirvana" and didn't buy into the "garage band hype", the White Stripes have released the perfect album at the perfect time. I've liked 'em for a while, but I never put much stock in them, partially because the lo-fi 2 person band seemed too much like a gimmick, and in my blindness, I often couldn't see past that. Well consider this a repentance of sorts. I couldn't think of a better band (or album) to lead the world of rock out of this overproduced melodramatic slump it's been in for so long. Granted, this "garage band revival" already has and will continue to provide us with loads of flash-in-the-pan style [singers] (see Mooney Suzuki, The Vines, The Music, etc.) but albums like "Elephant" will make it all worthwhile. Jack and Meg are back, with more vintage gear, organs, vocal harmonies, and *gasp* BASSLINES. But don't worry, they're still as scratchy and raunchy as ever. I would go into detail about each particular song, but all you need to know is that THEY'RE ALL AMAZING. They've managed to pack all of the catchiness, lyrical brilliance, and energy of their previous 3 albums into one rock masterpiece. Jack White's guitar mastery comes out more than ever, without any ham-fisted 300-note solos. Remember how big guitars used to sound in the 70's? Yeah, well they're bigger now. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the top 10 rock albums of the decade. Get it any way you can, you need it.
on October 6, 2011
I won't bore you with all the hyperbole that has already invested the many reviews. BUT....here it is:
My son turned me on to the Stripes a couple of years ago and I'm 60 next year and for all of you ZEP, STONES, AC/DC, LENNON, GARAGE fans....shaddup and get this cd.
Its the cleanest,toughest, rawest yet coherent best crap I've heard in 20 years. I've turned tons a folks my age on to this stuff and they love it. It's a drug!
on June 4, 2003
OK, I didn't want to like The White Stripes--I figured it was hype (I'm begining to hate that word) and that they couldn't possibly be as great as everyone was raving. I thought, "The White Stripes? It's just folksy weirdo arty rock, I mean come on . . ." But then I went into a CD strore where you could listen to the whole thing. All right, I said, let's do this, let's get it over with. Headphones on. Track one, '7 nation army,' heard it--skip. Number two: full-blown all-out rock song... What the--that guitar is insane. This is like punk-blues, ah! my favorites!... Number three: Jack White choir? That is so awesome what the f--
[Dang]. I have to buy this now. Noooooooooo!
Now you liten to me, Jack White can play guitar. I didn't know he could play like that. I don't really care if people can play guitar or not (most guitarists are show offs, SHOW OFFS, annoying) but Jack is crazy. He's crazy. And I love the blues, but they can get boring, which is why I love Jimi Hendrix; he took the blues and freaked them out, made them awesome. Guess what. So does Jack White. He takes the blues and FREAKS THEM OUT, and it's great. But that's not what makes the white stripes great; it helps, but it's just part.
This is for all of you who aren't into the W.S.s yet. You can start here, it's OK. Sounds too good to be true? Quit being a snob and just listen to this already.
Also, buy the Von Bondies record, 'Lack of Communication.' Jack produced it and they're cool.
on April 21, 2003
One guitar, one voice, one set of drums. Limiting? Forget it. This, and unless I'm going to be very mistaken, together with the forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut show that this, in the right hands, can be the most liberating of line-ups. Primal. Earthy. Just proper. Just rock 'n' roll.
The NME had this as one of their Top 100 Albums of all-time before it was even released. Which may or may not be ridiculous.
So what you have to do is ignore stuff like that and just listen to the music...
'Seven Nations Army' sets it up. The de-tuned guitar intro leading into the woozy guitar blasting out of each verse. Which for me is just fine but leads to criticism, the criticism of this band : That This Is Nothing New. Mmmm, well, maybe. And maybe, so what. It is clear that the main inspiration here is the blues and to some extent this is music as old as the hills. But then there are rock stylings and aggression ( 'Black Math' could be hardcore, if it wasn't so schizophrenic...)and a singular personality/force of will that is Jack White. And then more than a dash of Pixies. Which is obviously a good thing.
'There's No Home For You' is end-of-the-affair bitterness time and manages to evoke Hendrix, Dylan and, er, Queen pretty much simultaneously. The Bacharach and David cover, 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself' could be a Jack White original and therein maybe lies the answer : melding everything you can take from the past and arriving at your own identity. And the future.
You will want special stuff, special moments...Okay, Meg's vocals on 'In The Cold, Cold Night' are as down and dirty as you could possibly hope for; the glam 'oh-oh-oh' refrain on 'Little Acorns' is as unexpected as it is welcome; and really there is a lightness to a lot of this that may come as a surprise. The great piano work by Jack on 'I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart' in particular stands out. And the classic vocal performance.
So is this a classic?
Well, it's too soon to tell, I suppose.
There is little of the straightforward catchy nature of 'Hotel Yorba' here from the predecessor, 'White Blood Cells', save for perhaps 'Hypnotise' but that is not the point. This is The White Stripes at the top of their game. There is a depth to the songwriting here which genuinely excites. And immediately you know that it's an album which will last. I love the maybe-improvised last song with its knockabout lyrics ( " Meg, do you think Jack really loves me?" followed by " You know, I don't care because Jack really bugs me..." ) although then we're at the end.
How good, then, at the end of the day...
Okay, it is a very good album, maybe a great one but time will tell. All I do know is that it's primal, it's earthy, it's just rock 'n' roll. And that's really as old as the hills...And maybe all you need to know.
on April 16, 2003
The Strokes .... I avoided the White Stripes for sometime when people without taste kept claiming them and the boring Strokes as saviors of Rock for 2002. While The Strokes sound like Rock music as much as Bare Naked Ladies, The White Stripes have a style all to their own. The music can be sexy, hard, melodic, soft, and fast all on one album.
This album surpassed my expectations. I now feel that this is as important to a hard rocks fans collection as Back in Black, Paranoid, and Nevermind. (If you don't own or know those albums - shame!). This album, this band, has character. It's visceral, straight up rock and roll complete with the folk and blues influence.
My favorite track, at the moment, is track 9, The Hardest Button to Button. The beat thumps, the guitar is distorted, and the voice is passionate. It's all I ask from a rock band.
Some of the fans here expressed some dissapointment because of the slight departure from their previous style. But it's just two people, how consistent can they be from album to album!?
This is a classic, and will hopefully be recognized as such.
on April 15, 2003
i want to give this **** and 1/2.
i have to admitt i a huge fan of the White Stripes. I lovedWhite Blood Cells. it would definately put it on my top 5 album of all time and i doubt if it would ever be bumped out. i picked up Elephant on the first day when it came out. i was so freaking excited and i listend to it at least 10 times straight. At first it seems kinda flat and uncreative compare to the previous album. it didn't have instant classic track like "Fall in Love with a Girl" or "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground." although it still sound pretty good, i was pretty disappointed. two weeks later, when i saw the music video on MTV (Seven Nation Army. really cool) i was inspired to listen to it again. then i realized how catchy and powerful the album is. The amazing guitar solo was so juicy! Jack's voice is so haunting, and i have to say they haven't lost their sound at all.
anyway, to keep it short, this is an amazing follow up to White Blood Cell. every song is great, but it just took me more time to absort it. which is always a good thing. get this album or you will miss out and wonder what the hell they are playing on tv and radio these days. Linkin Park? ew[...] Simple Plan? booooooo