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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars White playfulness rules again
It's hard not to think that Jack White has developed something of an ego--after all, when music critics call you a genius for anything as small as slapping an organ around a bit, it must be hard not to get a little bit of a God complex.

But if he has, he has not let it diffuse the element of play and seeming improvisation that brings the White Stripes sound...
Published on June 23, 2007 by Mr. Richard K. Weems

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great album, TERRIBLE master!
Whatever idiot mastered this CD made it so loud that the drums crunch and clip during particularly loud parts. This is particularly noticeable during the chorus on track 3 and the 0:05 part in Icky Thump.

The vinyl version was mastered by a different person and has none of this terrible clipping, plus all the different instruments sound more distinct and...
Published on June 18, 2008 by Mannex17


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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars White playfulness rules again, June 23, 2007
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This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
It's hard not to think that Jack White has developed something of an ego--after all, when music critics call you a genius for anything as small as slapping an organ around a bit, it must be hard not to get a little bit of a God complex.

But if he has, he has not let it diffuse the element of play and seeming improvisation that brings the White Stripes sound together. The White Stripes is where Jack White is at the height of his powers. His brief excursion into The Raconteurs with Broken Boy Soldiers felt too constricted and lacking energy, and in other projects he didn't sound as though he was having all that much fun. Many regard Get Behind Me Satan as dark White Stripes, but I don't go along with that diagnosis--there are way too many fluctuations about that disc even that keeps me from thinking that Jack and Meg were getting too dour during that recording session.

With rock 'n' roll creature Meg White, the music becomes music again, playing with all types of sounds and styles and maybe even poking a little fun at musical schools that we may take a little too seriously. This IS rock, after all, and if we can end "I'm Slowly Turning Into You" with a repetitive La chorus, what the hell? Why not? "Rag and Bone" is an exquisite track with its shout-outs as though one is listening in on take 1, and the plain out noise assault of the the title track lets you know that you're not in for the the old heavy-yet-light-since-there-are-only-two-of-them bluesiness of The White Stripes, but a pair who have spread their sound out wider and into something of a full arc. The snideness of "You Just Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)," and the garage-can twanginess into submarine assault with "Catch Hell Blues"--every song works at being its own tone poem, sounding at times like a radio dial flipping about to give one snatches of different styles and stations (that is, in the days when you could tell one radio station from another).

But, just in case you thought that the Stripes might have left behind their heavy blues influence, they give you that purity of back-porch blues with "Effect and Cause." I love this playfulness about them, their willingness to explore anything (even if it's something they've explored before) if the song leads them to it.

This album isn't the profound and unannounced classic that De Stijl is, but it's solid White Stripes stuff--which is to say that it's diverse, imaginative, entertaining on both sides of the speaker, and a foot-stomping good time.

Rock on.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Release, July 4, 2007
By 
D. Smolarek (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
For a band that exists based on constrictions, the White Stripes increase their versatility with each album. Yes, there are blues stompers and rockers, but Icky Thump has bagpipes, mariachi trumpets, and an ethereal spoken word number by Meg.
For those looking for traditional White Stripes blues rock, you have Catch Hell Blues, I'm Slowly Turning Into You, and the stand outs Bone Broke and 300 MPH Outpour Blues.
And then there's the title track, which, while rocking, ventures into oddball territory with one of the first synthesizers ever made, with a deep Moog-ish sound, and some politically-minded but slightly inscrutable lyrics.
The bagpipe "suite" Prickly Thorn But Sweetly Worn/St. Andrew is, according to Jack White, a nod to both Stripes' Scottish heritage, the first which would have been in good company on the Cold Mountain soundtrack, the second a noisy ditty featuring Meg's spoken word, which fortunately improves with multiple listens.
The other standout tracks are Conquest, a Patty Page cover which mixes trumpets with Jack's pounding guitar riffs, Effect and Cause, the fun Loretta Lynnish closer, and Rag and Bone, a blues track that sums up the ideology behind the Stripes and this album in particular- Jack and Meg go searching for other people's junk to "give it a home" and "make something out of it."

For her part, Meg's drumming has never sounded better.
And Jack, in this humble reviewer's opinion, is THE songwriter of our generation. Even some of the lesser tracks are better than almost anything else out these days.

With each listen I'm finding something new to love about Icky Thump, and more to love from my (obviously) favorite band.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great album, TERRIBLE master!, June 18, 2008
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
Whatever idiot mastered this CD made it so loud that the drums crunch and clip during particularly loud parts. This is particularly noticeable during the chorus on track 3 and the 0:05 part in Icky Thump.

The vinyl version was mastered by a different person and has none of this terrible clipping, plus all the different instruments sound more distinct and snappy. Get that instead.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in form? What? They NEVER went out....., June 24, 2007
By 
M. J. Anderson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
As a child of the 80s, yet a 60s and 70s Rock fan I can say that the Stripes are leagues ahead of their peers in what they are doing with their sound. Very few bands (I.E. the Beatles, Led Zepplin) produce albums where I consistently listen to EVERY album. What makes them unique? First they obviously touch the roots of rock and roll by leaning on the blues a bit. Second, they take the blues and craft songs around the styles and make them their own. The White Stripes have been very successful for six albums in continuing to reinvent and invigorate their style of music without forgetting these roots. While the Stripes have nowhere near the sales of the aforementioned or others at this time, 20 years down the road who will be one of the legends of this time? My bet is on the Stripes.

Since everyone else has to do it: My order: De Stijl, Icky Thump, Elephant, Get Behind me Satan, White Blood Cells, The White Stripes

My early favs:

1) Catch Hell Blues--no one really has mentioned this gem in other reviews--but like the under appreciated "Red Rain" from the last album has an epic feel to it.
2) You Don't Know What Love Is. Great song. Sounds like a earlier improvement on punk songs like Fell in Love with a Girl, etc.
3) Icky Thump. Title track continues to rope folks in.
4) Rag and Bone. Great all around deep song.
5) Conquest. New angle and shows Jack's vocal depth.

Get this album if you are a long term fan of the Stripes. Get this album if you are interested in a great American band whose fame hasn't soured their sound.
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49 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Icky Thump, Who'd-a Thunk?, July 24, 2007
By 
Suzanne (Oklahoma City, OK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
For the longest time the White Stripes were my guilty pleasure. Saying their name around musicians is like uttering the name Charles Darwin among Christians or George Bush among Democrats. However, the Whites seem oblivious to outside praise and criticism. They are an anomaly: A two piece band who reduces genres to their bare essentials to see how many ways they can twist, hammer, and shape it into something viable. They do this without an ounce of flash or technical abilities. Jack's near juvenile guitar playing, and Meg's "trained monkey on drums" abilities are among the worst in all of music. The Stripes are essentially an exercise in maximization through minimalization. The variations and nuances they're able to saturate this simplicity with is extraordinary. The results are endlessly surprising and rewarding.

They also seem to alternate - album wise - between interpretations on traditional forms (rock, pop, folk) and experimentation: Although these two sides - the traditional and experimental - are almost always integrated, the focus usually remains on one. De Stijl was their most traditional blues/pop album, with Elephant being a logical progression on that concept that expanded the overall palette. White Blood Cells is perhaps their quirkiest, as it leaped into vast new territories and styles, with Get Behind Me Satan being a focused, refined, near perfection of that stylish mishmash. Now to Icky Thump: At once a return to tradition and complete perfection of it. The spiritual precursor to Icky is Elephant - not the experimental Get Behind Me Satan. The first three songs epitomize this concept:

The title track is monumental, crushing rock. Featuring a towering riff from Jack White, A pulsing "thud" beat from Meg. Along with a vocal delivery that teeters on the edge of manic breakdown and complete control, spitting venom the entire time. "You Don't Know What Love Is" is a foray back to De Stijl and pop in its purest form with no excess. It's also perhaps (and I say this tentatively) the best pop song Jack has written. From electric and eclectic to calm with aplomb (bad wordplay, I know) we get to "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues" (I have to gasp just saying it!). This song evokes Bob Dylan like nothing else I've heard from the White Stripes or anyone. The reiterated acoustic lick is absorbing in its meditative restraint. The electric breaks only provide a contrast rather than a driving force to the track.

Then we head into the experimental grasp of Jack again. "Conquest" is pounding and incessant, with its horn flourishes evoking a definite Mexicano vibe. From Mexico to Ireland (or Scotland) we get "Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn". An acoustic, Irish (Scottish?) clog dance that's as charming as anything Jack has done. "St. Andrew" provides a kind of epilogue to "Prickly Thorn' with its accelerating rhythm being lead by a lively bagpipe and miniscule female vocals. "Little Cream Soda" continues the 'Little' tradition, returning to the metal tones of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" with a distortion drenched riff from Jack that's as good as any he's produced. "Catch Hell Blues" features a tumultuous slide riff that's vaguely reminiscent of "Little Bird" from De Stijl, but more hellish and electric. Jack also hasn't lost his sense of humor. Both "Rag & Bone" and "Effect & Cause" are as whimsical as anything he's done. The former being a rhythmic, comical take on requesting people's unwanteds and the latter being a country-esque romp on refusing to accept the consequences of one's actions.

What catapults this album above the previous Stripes' efforts is Jack's transcendent leap in his lyrical and vocal stylings. I normally don't care for lyrics, but Jack White forces you to pay attention to his due to the inventiveness at which he writes and the originality in which he delivers. The title track being a prime example: At first it sounds akin to a rapper's delivery as Jack rhythmically blurts out variations on "ump", while expanding on this concept throughout. Jack wrenches, bends, twists and distorts syllables; emphasizing serpentine rhythmic drive over melody. This is similar to The Beatles' most experimental vocal work, and Dylan's flow of delivery. Jack's variety of emotive abilities are among the best in all of modern music. If the idea of song is the fusion of music and words - where one acts to enhance the other - then The Stripes may personify that idea better than any other these days.

This album only 'fails' - a better term would be "fail to surpass previous efforts" - when Jack doesn't push himself. Reverting back to comfortable territory. "Bone Broke" is an attempt to return to their punkish, garage days - but it is no Fell In Love With a Girl. Both "I'm Slowly Turning Into You" and "A Martyr for My Love for You" are decent, but lacking in the freshness the rest of the album permeates. However, their inclusion is welcome as they're too good to be considered filler.

If any Stripes albums could truly be called serious, then Icky Thump is the furthest away from that definition. Rather, this is Jack and Meg at their most playful and fun. Confident in what they can do, they produce songs that effortlessly fit within their respective abilities. As always, variety is key. Acoustic, electric, and ultimately eclectic, Icky Thump isn't a radical departure for the Whites, but just an assured, adept execution of their wealth of styles and ideas. It's the nuances that reward repeated listens. This isn't musically dense material, but it's subtle music all the same. Perhaps the only other fault is that in the Stripes' refusal to strive for eminence they may also never reach the heights of albums like Highway 61, Sgt. Pepper, or Born to Run (insert your applicable favorites). If Icky Thump is their peak (and it may be), then I only wonder where they go from here.

The White Stripes have transformed me from a hesitant supporter into an avid one. If Get Behind Me Satan was my acquiescence, then Icky Thump was my revelation. No longer do I consider them my great "guilty pleasure". I could solely appreciate the fearlessness at which they tackle everything. Most bands walk on eggshells afraid of failing, but The Stripes seem apathetic to the notion that they could - with any misstep - ruin their popularity. Instead, they seem rather insouciant about the entire thing - likely wondering how a quirky garage band ended up being hailed as the 'saviors' of pop music. They seem to belong to a bygone era. One in which bands pushed themselves into uncharted waters - daring themselves to improve - growing and evolving in the studio instead of behind closed doors. Perhaps, most importantly, they seem to produce everything with a real sense of passion and honesty, completely lacking any of the contrivances and pretenses in modern pop and rock music.

In the end, I can only echo what Steve Vai (I believe it was) said about them: "Out of tune. Out of time. Beautiful."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Rediscovered Music with the White Stripes and I Adore This Album, August 18, 2009
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
I first heard the WHITE STRIPES when I was in my late 50s. I am now 61 and I still listen to them every day. I also listen to the Raconteurs (also Jack White) and now Dead Weather (ditto). As someone who went to college in the late 1960s, this is the freshest music for me which has come out since that time period. ICKY THUMP is right at the top of all of these albums for me. Expanding their instruments, eerie bagpipes and Flamenco horns are added to this album with great effect. I loved their inclusion. There are many musical influence in this music but garage rock coupled with blues certainly are always at the forefront. Having listened to Jack White now play with other musicians, I must say that his playing with Meg has been consistently underrated. The two of them bring out the best of one another musically. Good as Jack is on his own or with other musicians, when he plays with Meg it as as if he is playing with his soul mate. I usually don't appreciate the instruments as much as the singing on any album but that is not true on these albums. I love the great thought that has gone into the use of each instrument and to the uniqueness of each one and to the softness or hardness of its sound. Jack's vocalizing is terrific and fits seamlessly into every arrangement. My only hope is that this is not the last White Stripes album since Jack now has so many other musical irons in the fire. I don't have the technical expertise to comment on each song as other reviewers here have done. I just know I love the whole album. There is no greater pleasure than driving in my convertible with the top down through the nearby national park and listening to this album during the summer time. This album also won two Grammys.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another stellar album from rock and roll's greatest duo, July 6, 2007
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
I will admit that I have been really nervous the past couple of years. With the success of the Raconteurs and Jack and Meg moving to completely different parts of the country I was afraid that the beginning of the end of the White Stripes had commenced. And who knows, perhaps it has. But Jack's new band commitments and their new places of residence certainly hasn't impacted the quality of their work together. My fear was that Jack might keep some of his "A" material for his new band and that the overall quality of ICKY THUMP might suffer as a result. But it is clear from this album that Jack either has an awful lot of "A" material or that he is giving the Raconteurs his "B" material. ICKY THUMP is simply a brilliant album, definitely as good or better than GET BEHIND ME SATAN and at spots as good as anything before that (though ELEPHANT remains my favorite White Stripes album).

Although I like this album more than GET BEHIND ME SATAN, they are definitely kindred affairs. Both have the same kind of eclecticism and almost any song on the one album could have been fit onto the other. I personally find Jack White to be one of the wonders of music. While I confess to nursing a sizable crush on Meg White, hers is a supporting role to Jack. I find him to be one of the most innovative guitarists in rock, with a seemingly endless supply of new and interesting musical ideas. His guitar toolkit is a bit larger than those of most other guitarists. The same can be said for his song writing as well.

If there is a criticism that can be made of the album, it is that the first half is stronger than the second half. Though perhaps that should be amended to say that the first two-thirds is better than the final third. This distinction allows me to include the absolutely delightful "Rag and Bone" and the hard-driving "Little Cream Soda" with the best part of the album. But none of the final songs are actually bad or even below average. "A Martyr for My Love for You" is a good enough song, with some fairly pedestrian hooks, but the point is that it isn't quite up there with the earlier songs. The album starts off with a vengeance, with the superb title track followed by "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You're Told), which is in turn followed by the marvelously long winded "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues." Then follows the lone song on the album not written by White, the country classic "Conquest," which under his reinterpretation is certainly no longer country.

All in all, this is one of the most enjoyable albums of the year. I know that some White Stripes fans tend to specialize in either early or late albums; they prefer either the rock purity of DE STIJL or the eclecticism of GET BEHIND ME SATAN or the sheer power of ELEPHANT. Well, forgive me if I like it all. I don't get people who want performers to never evolve or change. I've been delighted with the White Stripes because they have never stayed stuck in one place. They've continued to grow and evolve. I can't wait until their next album. Let's just hope that their changing personal lives and professional obligations don't prevent a "next." But as great as Jack White is, he is never as good when he and his "sister" Meg crank it.

Finally, Jack and Meg have always been interesting to look at on stage. They've always worn interesting outfits, but their psychedelic suits on the front cover of the CD is the most bracing that I've seen worn since the days of the Flying Burrito Brothers GILDED PALACE OF SIN.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Solid Album From a Talented Band, June 20, 2007
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
Get Behind Me Satan was a grower. It wasn't all that accessible; it didn't really grab you right away, and it wasn't heavy or bluesy like all of the other White Stripes albums. And for these reasons some fans saw it as a disappointment, wondering why Jack White left the jackhammer guitar off of the album. Even though repeat listens revealed a rewarding listen and a refreshing change of pace, it still took a few lumps.

But fans of the accessible White Stripes rejoice, because Icky Thump is a full on rock album, with pounding drums, powerful riffs and blues elements all over the pace. Icky Thump is like the loud and abrasive brother of Get Behind Me Satan. The songwriting is still paranoid and strange, but instead of sounding insular, it sounds massive.

The title track starts this album off with a bang, continuing the White Stripes tradition of attention grabbing openers. The song is a typical White Stripes stomper, with Meg pounding on the drums and Jack throwing in a heavy guitar riff. But the heavy synth line throughout the song adds a menacing element. I can't wait to hear them play this song live, it should shake the ground. Now the flippant one off line immigration is a bit troubling, but the rest of the song doesn't really seem to be about immigration at all, but some kind of drunken trip to Mexico, or maybe it's just nonsense, I'm not really sure.

Icky Thump is front loaded with great tunes, with You Don't Know What Love Is, 300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues, and the mariachi tinged Conquest all very solid tunes. The album does lag a bit in the middle with the two Scottish folk tunes, but they're not terrible songs or anything, they just don't have the same energy as the first part of the album.

The second half of the album is also great. Rag and Bone is a fun little song about two junk dealers and Catch Hell Blues is a heavy blues number in the tradition of Death Letter.

Fans of the band are going to love this. All of the elements are there, the heavy guitar riffs, the pounding drums, the red and white color scheme, the goofy clothing, and even the strange liner notes. I don't think it's as good as Elephant, or De Stijl, but it's a fun album with some genuinely great moments.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More striped greatness, June 20, 2007
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
For a band that exists based on constrictions, the White Stripes increase their versatility with each album. Yes, there are blues stompers and rockers, but Icky Thump has bagpipes, mariachi trumpets, and an ethereal spoken word number by Meg.
For those looking for traditional White Stripes blues rock, you have Catch Hell Blues, I'm Slowly Turning Into You, and the stand outs Bone Broke and 300 MPH Outpour Blues.
And then there's the title track, which, while rocking, ventures into oddball territory with one of the first synthesizers ever made, with a deep Moog-ish sound, and some politically-minded but slightly inscrutable lyrics.
The bagpipe "suite" Prickly Thorn But Sweetly Worn/St. Andrew is, according to Jack White, a nod to both Stripes' Scottish heritage, the first which would have been in good company on the Cold Mountain soundtrack, the second a noisy ditty featuring Meg's spoken word, which fortunately improves with multiple listens.
The other standout tracks are Conquest, a Patty Page cover which mixes trumpets with Jack's pounding guitar riffs, Effect and Cause, the fun Loretta Lynnish closer, and Rag and Bone, a blues track that sums up the ideology behind the Stripes and this album in particular- Jack and Meg go searching for other people's junk to "give it a home" and "make something out of it."

For her part, Meg's drumming has never sounded better.
And Jack, in this humble reviewer's opinion, is THE songwriter of our generation. Even some of the lesser tracks are better than almost anything else out these days.

With each listen I'm finding something new to love about Icky Thump, and more to love from my (obviously) favorite band.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back with a Thump!!!, June 18, 2007
By 
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
With a buzzing bass line, thumping beat, and sudden bursts of guitar and percussion (and a squealing guitar solo), The White Stripes announce their return with lead off single "Icky thump", which is already a UK #2 smash.

"Icky Thump" is the Stripes 6th studio release, and the first since Jack White's detour to his Grammy nominated side project, The Raconteurs last year, and its a plethora of great edgy blues/garage rock songs. The album has a fuller sound than the more stripped sound of "Get behind me satan".

The blues influenced "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)" flows effortlessly, while the horn peppered "Conquest" is a cover (rare for the Stripes) of a Patti Page song; it features fab trumpet layering to give a band effect and a duelling guitar/trumpet solo over a pseudo mariachi rhythm (you can almost picture Jack in a poncho and sombrero).

"Rag and bone" is a power house featuring both Jack and Meg on vocals (his southern drawl nicely contrasted by her whispering) and is brilliant! Just as rocking is "Little cream soda" with its thumping beat, crashing cymbals, and spoken delivery.

"Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn" throws bagpipes (giving a Celtic touch) into the mix, aptly followed by the psychedelic "St. Andrew (This Battle Is In the Air)", a spoken piece (by Meg) set to percussion and bagpipes.

"300 M.P.H. torrential outpour blues", and the brilliant "Catch hell blues" are (as their names imply) the most heavily blues tinged songs, the latter featuring interesting tempo shifts (gentle to explosive) and very interesting and exciting guitar work (from delicately plucked, to squealing guitars).

"I'm a Martyr for My Love for You", a beautifully melodic song about an affair with a teenager that can never be, is the album's lone ballad. "I'm slowly turning into you" is a midtempo rocker with a blistering guitar riff, and lyrics recognizing how alike two people in a relationship become over time. Closing out is the brief country tinged "Effect and cause" with Jack having fun singing, even giggling.

Much more accessible than the dark, experimental (even by the Stripes standards) "Get behind me satan" (which I loved, don't get me wrong), they are still pushing the musical envelope, something loads of acts seem unable to do these days. Look out, The White Stripes are back!!
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Icky Thump by The White Stripes (Audio CD - 2007)
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