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4.3 out of 5 stars
The White Stripes
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116 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 1999
(Go see the Bellrays review for Part 1) It just amazes me that no one else has anything to say about this record. It's been out for MONTHS and its so damn good it makes a man cry just to get thinkin' about it. The blur, the flash and dazzle, the White Stripes, baby, THE WHITE STRIPES!!! Honestly, I'd never so much as heard of these folkz affore I got lissened to the L.P. in a record store a couple months ago. (Fallout Records, Seattle, WA. Give them all your money. Come down from Vancouver to buy U-Men records. Call them on the phone and act retarded.) "THE WHITE STRIPES," the nice record store lady said. A mysterious, somewhat sinister two-piece that comes to you via the impeccable taste and unflagging dedication of Long Gone John and his SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY label. What we got here is a boy, a girl, a guitar, a rudimentary drumkit, and a Led Zeppelin fixation like the Aswad High Dam. You take all that, you stuff it through the rama-lama-fa-fa-fa with more cheap speed than a normal ninth-grader can handle and you will most definitely get you somma that WHITE STRIPES. I mean, you will get you some wailing, banging, sex-starved, all-American ACCIONE DU ROCK like yer daddy done told you 'bout. Plus, that songwriting (read "riff architecture") is the doggone duck's mittens! (Like you're even gonna care, what with the gosh-darned rock-n-rolling they got all over this thing, but still...) The Stripes, like a lotta the new breed blooze punx, knows the value of them thar empty parts in between the cruncy bits. They got what the eggyheads like to call "Dynamics". It means that they can kinda lay back like a little kitty cat sometimes, affore they jump up and rock yer flabby ass all to hell. (I'm not talkin' about all that malajusted EMO sh!t either. Those folks ain't got "Dynamics", they's just not takin' their medication.) Whoo-ee, kids, I said "Dynamics". That's were you gotta be for the big millenium. That's what really sells it out in the cheap seats. If you still ain't got the drift, take a lissen to "The Big Three Killed My Baby", and let that school you on up. It's got something for the whole fambly!! Smartypants lyrix, swell dunderhead riffage, and that amazing Bon-Scott-choking-to-death-on-his-own-vomit VOICE. If Robert Plant coulda singed like that, Led Zeppelin might have even sold a few rekkids. The side-two opener (vinyl, baby, it's gotta be) "Broken Bricks" is likewise AOK, just a-buildin' and a hollerin' until it EXPLODES all over the place at the end like Ron Fugg'n Jeremy. AND they cover that Gin-U-Wine classic "St. James Infirmary Blues" without even screwing it up. Just pie-ano, vocals, and a long blue line of cold chills. Spooky-ooky, baby. I dunno, there isn't a whole lot more I can say about The White Stripes, and I'm stretching my powers of observation as it is. Honestly, if you don't already dig this strain of hingeless gutter spew, the White Stripes won't convert you. BUT if you like it neat, cheap, and served in a dirty glass, the. WHITE STRIPES gonna set you up fine.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2001
I read about the White Stripes in the NYtimes and bought White Blood Cells w/o any further provocation. Not long afterwards I had to get my hands on another Stripes album, this being it. This album does pack a lot within its 43 minutes and there seems to be a song here for whatever mood you may be in. The three cover-tunes are worth the price of the album alone with "One More Cup of Coffee" by Bob Dylan, "St. James Infirmary Blues" an old Louie Armstrong standard by J. Primrose, and "Stop Breaking Down" by Robert Johnson. You can hear musical elements of each of these artists within these songs, especially some of Louie Armstrong's trumpet work in the voice of Jack White. My favorite track, and the one that every other reviewer fails to mention is Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down." The slide work is ferocious if not outright feral and JW's vocals are both intense and playful. Meg's drums throughout the album makes you want hammer away on the steering wheel of your car (mental note to be careful while driving and playing the White Stripes). Get your lame self out of your chair and get this record.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2002
Here is the first effort of the next age in rock, Jack and Meg White push off hard with this effort. You really need to see the progression of greatness in this band, so start here and then go on to De Stijl and Cells and know you are onto something incredible here.
One reviewer said "White Stripes' is completely unselfconscious-- it's just two kids honestly following their instincts and influences, yet creating an original." He's right, The Stripes don't sound like anybody else (no matter how hard you try to draw parallels). Jack is brilliant live too.....just yelling out in the middle of a song "Buddy Holly is dead and there is nothing you and I can do about it!" or ranting about an "insane Elvis" leads you to believe it's all stream-of-thought rantings anyway (and that would include the music). Legions of other bands will be compared to them, not the other way around.
In Jimmy you honestly think Jack's guitar is going to explode......there just isn't any room for bass and rhythm in this sound.....how can one guy sound like System Of A Down, Metallica, or Rush all by himself? Big Three, Bricks.....there is this incredible run of three killer tracks - Wasting My Life/Cannon/Astro that makes you want to scream how good rock and roll can be......honestly, there is way too much sound here for two people.....it's the sound of an original rock lightning strike......it's rare......there hasn't been a band like this one in 10 years.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2004
First off, as a new fan who grabbed all four of the White Stripes records within the scope of a week, I would advise anyone who has been weened on 'Elephant' (2003) or 'White Blood Cells' (2001) to get the other LPs first. Their indie debut probably takes the most getting used to.
That said, the first two rockers, "Jimmy the Explorer" and a cover of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down", are like a breath of fresh air. There are other hints of greatness here as well, including the power blues of "Suzy Lee", the acoustic blues of "Sugar Never Tasted So Good" (the latter being a taste of what was to come with the follow-up record, 'De Stijl' (2000)), and the old-school blues (we're talking 1930s here) of "St. James Infirmary Blues".
The problem with the record is the one dimensional aspect - by the time you get to the third track, "The Big Three Killed My Baby", the novelty of Jack White running his voice through a guitar amp and the minimalism of Meg White's drumming starts to wear a bit thin. But hey, it was their first record, they would learn . . .
For the new listener, I recommend trying out White Stripes in the following order: (1) De Stijl; (2) Elephant; (3) White Blood Cells; and (4) White Stripes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One guitar. A set of drums. An occasional organ. For a boy who dislikes the blues and has a hard time swallowing much garage, it takes a damn potent symbiosis of the two to make me hit play more than once. But take the finest moments of Thee Headcoats and meld them with a Led Zep bluster and you get this urgent swath of yowling blues-rock tunes. They can slow it down like "Do" or kick out the jams like "Stop Breaking Down" or even angle for a little pity like "The Big Three Killed My Baby."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
And I thought they were just another Indy-Wanna-Be-New Wave Band!But don't judge this book by it's cover.Which is what I did. I took one look at their get-up and thought they were some pathetic gimmick band. Then I heard the music. I had no idea that they'd be covering such Blues classics as "Stop Breaking Down". And that's what they essentially are: a modern Punk/Blues band. And I love the sparseness. Just some killer electric guitar and percussion. Jack White is raw as hell on on the ol' six strings and he sings like Robert Plant wanting to Be Iggy Pop, whilst fumbling with this time worn legacy called The Blues. And I'm talking those Delta "purist" Blues not some B.B. King Burger King Ad stuff. He's riffing off acoustic John Lee Hooker and Son House. The end result is a fresh sound and whether they're married or divorced (or brother and sister), Jack and Meg White have created a unique sound out of solid traditon. Ballads like "Suzy Lee" are brilliantly placed among workouts like, "Astro", where he comes off like James Brown with one foot on fire.
Look there's alot of Indy Bands out there and I'm 30-odd year old Blues fan talking here. The WHITE STRIPES are, for once, more than meets the eye.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
Here is where it all starts kids, the WHITE STRIPES lay down their first album and let us all know that they are just going to get some drums and guitar, turn it up, and rock it out, thank you very much. IF you want to listen, great, if not, then Jack will keep working on furniture! As an old fogey, and a music addict, there was a time 10 years ago where I was wondering whether or not I'd ever get into a "new" band ever again. I was OK if the answer was NO. I still don't know every single Doors, Creedence, or Stones song, and I'm very happy to continue to listen to Zeppelin, Purple, Sabbath, et al (yes, I listen to other music as well). SO, then a little band called the White Stripes comes out. I'd heard of them, and the "garage rock" label, and I just hadn't come across their stuff yet as I don't listen to radio, and MTV stopped playing ANY music decades ago. So one night listening to public radio, they say here is the new song by the Stripes "Seven Nation Army" off their new album Elephant. I'm INSTANTLY hooked. I go out and I get their first album and Elephant, listen to them both and they BLOW my mind!! Of course, I pick up White Blood Cells and De Stijl. LOVE them too! The rest is history. I see them in concert, I buy their Blackpool NIghts DVD, and get their movie and new live album, all of it, so damn good! Now they are done, maybe they do something again, I don't know, but if not, they left their mark, and of course, Jack continues to let the music flow thru Raconteurs, Dead Weather, and now, solo offerings, Keep it up Boy! cheers.
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60 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
I first heard of The White Stripes when I read a review of one their gigs by an English pop music journalist who claimed that they were "the best band in the world". Well, normally, that would be the kind of thing that would send me running several miles in the opposite direction, cause if an English music journalist thinks you're that good, chances are you're crap.
Nevertheless, I bought this, their first album, and was gratified to find that even without a bass player, this brother/sister combination from Detroit kicks some serious arse. Jack White's whiny white-boy-sings-the-blues-voice has surprising power, and his sister Meg White bangs her clearly primitivo drumkit almost as though nobody had ever played the drums before. My favourite track is "The Big Three Killed My Baby", even if it (disappointingly) turns out to be about the dangers of modern car design, as opposed to something wilder and weirder, but they make up for it with sheer conviction of delivery. Jack White's humongously enormous guitar sound makes the need for a bassist irrelevant. Meg White's drums are thoroughly...uhh...organic. I've just bought their new album and HAVEN'T EVEN LISTENED TO IT YET - that's how much I trust this band. The Robert Johnson cover is suitably raucous and sloppy. The Dylan cover may not be as elegant as the original (how can you top Emmy Lou Harris on backing vocals?) but it has real soul.
The trouble with listening to Original versions of the covers on this album is that whole rock-as-Penguin-Classic syndrome. I intellectually accept that the Stones' original version of "Sympathy for the Devil" is the best version, but the fact remains that I find the Guns & Roses version more exciting. Likewise with the White Stripes. You can tell me that Zep did this sort of thing better - but the Stripes are younger, hornier, more dedicated and less inhibited by a sense of mission. Also their tracks are a lot shorter. Which is a good thing.
Listen. Hear. Feel. This is why we like rock.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2000
This album almost killed me! I heard their version of Saint James Infirmary Blues on Album 88 in Atlanta GA (88.5 tune it in!) and nearly ran a red light. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cramps, Royal Trux, old raw Sonic Youth, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Robert Johnson, none quite explain the White Stripes. Moe Tucker like drums and that indescribable voice. You need this album, you really, really do.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2001
oh boy, was i ever happy that this album is around and that this band is around and that maybe rock n roll is still around. I cant think of a better band that will snarl and rock real music back onto the airwaves. i mean I CANT STAND the radio. i cant think of the last time ive actually listened to it. there isnt a single station in the US that plays music like the white stripes, which is why im SO thankful they are gaining some real recognition regardless. and i grew up in deee-troit, which makes me feels all so gooey and proud that such a rockin outfit came out of such a tough-as-nails city. Its perfectly fitting. This album is fantastic from beginning to end, although "Big Three" is a personal fave for personal reasons. But "Do" and "Sugar Never Tasted So Good" are also pretty fierce. They are also one of the best live bands for your buck. Considering most of their songs are like 3 minute blows to your head, its really amazing that they can actually play a 1 1/2 hour set. They sweat, they rock, and they tear through their music like a sledgehammer. and all with a smile. youll smile too and be thankful the white stripes are knocking on your door.
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