25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indie this, Indie that... Indie Smindie...
All this [stuff] about indie cred and all that, I personally couldn't care less, a band is what they are, as long as they truly have talent. White Stripes have said talent. I picked up this album on a whim, after all, why not, I found it rather cheap. From the only song I'd heard from them (Fell in love with a girl) I was expecting a fairly average but typically same...
Published on July 13, 2002 by Jason Zagar
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Room for improvement, but this rocks!
I have to agree with the reviewer who bemoans the poor drumming (and, to a lesser degree, the lack of bass). The drumming is not good. And I'm no musical snob.
That said, the songs are solid, a beautiful melange of Zep, Pixies, Who -- this is real live rock all the way.
I can't stop listening to this album, so never mind the picky complaints, and buy it already!
Published on February 14, 2002
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indie this, Indie that... Indie Smindie...,
All this [stuff] about indie cred and all that, I personally couldn't care less, a band is what they are, as long as they truly have talent. White Stripes have said talent. I picked up this album on a whim, after all, why not, I found it rather cheap. From the only song I'd heard from them (Fell in love with a girl) I was expecting a fairly average but typically same sounding Punk album, boy was I wrong. In fact, Fell in love is the only song on the album that sounds like that, and that isn't a bad thing.
The songs here are very stylistically varied, especially when their almost all Guitar and drum exclusively. From the second I popped the album in I was shocked. Sure, they've got musical influences, does that really make their music bad. Especially when they take punk, grunge, 60-70's rock, blues, and even some folk and put them into a pot stir it up and actually come out with an album that makes it all gel.
"Dead leaves" is a go stop go stop rocker with Robert-Plantish vocals (as are much of Jack White's vocals.) "Hotel" is the song I get the whole "Folky" thing from, it reminds me of a more rocking something Dylan might have written. "Fell in Love" Again is 100% classic punk sound, period. "Little Room" is an odd 50 second drum and vocals only track, sounding almost like a demo but yet after the initial oddity of it you'll find yourself singing and lalaing along with it every time it comes on (or at least I do). "Union Forever" is Slow Unplugged Nirvana-ish, one of my faves. "Gonna be Friends" is a sweet acoustic song reminiscing about school. "Smell a rat" reminds me much of something Radiohead might have put on Pablo Honey, very odd at first, another one of my faves that gets me singing along. "Aluminum" is a nice dark song, vocal-less except for the odd Aaaaaaahs that go on throughout it, but I could definitely see Ozzy singing something dark over it. It provokes thoughts of a dark evil world leaving your imagination to come up with what it's like there. "My Protector" is a piano and vocals only track reminding me again of Radiohead, specifically their Live version of "Like Spinning Plates". Though not nearly as good as "Plates" live, but still good nonetheless.
Anyways, theres my opinion on the album and select tracks that I felt I had something to say about, the whole album is great, I didn't leave out songs because I thought them bad, I just didn't have much to say about them that I hadn't said for a previous song.
In closing, I suggest anyone who likes any or all of the types of music stated at the top of this review to check out this album, its cheap compared to the other albums currently out there, and is well worth twice the cost. Its the first breath of fresh air I've had in a while, when drowning in a sea of uninspired poprock/raprock and girl-boybands. I'd really begun to think that rock was indeed played out and over with.
I'd like to thank the White Stripes for showing me that there indeed is still great things that can be done with rock, and as long as they're around, I still have hope for the future of music.
69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here We Go.....!,
In White Blood Cells, the Stripes are beginning to bloom into a legend. Jack White is obviously developing at light speed right now. Sure he sounded like some kind of Robert Plant novice on De Stijl, but on Cells he's what Curt Cobain should have done eventually with Nirvanna or what Mick could have been if he had taken Jumpin' Jack Flash to the limit. Don't get me wrong....Jack is Jack, no way is he a pale imitation of anybody else, no matter how famous they are. And without Meg backing him like she's the muscle in his spine there would be no Stripes at all.
Dead Leaves spotlights Jack's guitar at a time when he's running full tilt boogie. The essence of punk is in Fell In Love With A Girl, and there is time for quirky stuff where the song won't go away (like Hotel Yorba). All 16 tracks are solid, the CD is one that you will run over and over and over until it's part of who you are.
You really don't know how raw guitar can be until you hear the Stripes in full roar. And Jack will always catch you off guard.....slow downs that make you wanna burst.....triple chords that make you wanna dance....wailing shafts of sound that give you chills.....abrasive isn't the right word.....this sound is so harsh it can draw individual nerve fibers right out of your brain while you love every second of it. This is one that you have to hear to really be alive.
Stripes make you realize that even if Green Day were the best of their era, this is how much better they could have been; this is how the Stones must have sounded at the Crawdaddy Club in 64; this is why all those hype-bands like the Hives & Vines will never last; this is nothing less than the start of the 3rd age of rock and roll. These guys have it.....the blinding future of rock may be in their hands.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Compelling Stuff!,
So I finally gave in to all the hype and purchased this album from The White Stripes.Since the summer hardly a week has gone by when I haven't read an article stating that this duo were the most exciting group in the world.Some people even stated that the last time they felt this excited about a group was when they first heard Hendrix or The Sex Pistols.After listening to this c.d. for quite a long time I've finally begun to subscribe partially to this theory.Yes the music is very raw and exciting.They do seem to have a very fresh and almost unique approach to some aspects of song writing.An example of this would be the tracks 6 and 7.Track 6 is a short song that has Jack White singing and warbling to the backdrop of Meg White's loud and bombastic drums.Then it breaks into track7-"The Union Forever"-guitar,shimmering organ and drums-but this song gets really interesting about 2 minutes in when we an acapella in a completely different rhtyhm sets in.
My one reservation about the White Stripes-well actually more just this album-is the lack of really memorable tracks.I mean this is a group who have been hyped far beyond any other group in the U.K. this year,and yet this album hasn't really sold much at all.Okay it's alternative rock but still you'd have imagined it may have had similar sales to say The Strokes.I put this down to the lack of really strong tracks.Having said that there are excellent tracks on this c.d.16 tracks in 40 minutes it's all pretty whirlwind stuff.The most obvious track is Hotel Yorba-which they also released as a pretty unsuccessful single-it's a real Alt/Country song-stomping rhtyhm,acoustic guitar,frenzied vocals and a simple chorus to die for.It stands out cos it's so different to any other track on the c.d.Track 8 is excellent-more shimmering organs,pretty raw guitar chords all set in a fairly slow tempo.Track 9-"We Are Going To Be Friends"-is beautiful lyrically,as the singer looks back on his early school days.The way he describes even the simplest and most common experiences are uncanny-you know the theory finding great beauty in everyday things.It's another acoustic track-one man and his guitar.There are some really good fast furious and very loud tracks-track 4 Fell In Love With A Girl is a case in point.The vocals are barely audible behind the thrashing of one very loud guitar-and then when we hit the chorus,a loose description-he sings like some sort of manic animated Hispanic mouse.That's another thing I really like about this album-the song structure is very different.It isn't verse,chorus,bridge,etc-many tracks don't seem to have a chorus at all.Maybe that's why it does take a good few listens to become in any way familiar with this album.
I think track 10 is slightly let down by some pretty weak vocals.The guitar riff is excellent and the piano is a welcome addition.I have heard people who don't like this c.d. pretty much put it down to having reservations about the vocals-and this track may be a good example of this.All is repaired though by track 12-"Aluminum"-it's very much like The Pixies at their loudest and most obscure.Basically it's one loud repeated half scream,half chant against a backdrop of loud guitars and lots of feedback-there is no tune as such,but it's pretty compulsive listening.Track 13 is one of the longer tracks-a marathon 3:38-it's almost got the normal structure.The song is raw and full of emotion from both vocals and guitar-I'd imagine this is a live favourite.
They certainly are an interesting group-you'll either love this or think it's a complete load of ???But with this c.d. The White Stripes have challenged our listening skills and our so-called musical conventions in a fresh and exciting way.Thank God for groups like this!
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Germ-killing,
It's good to see that the White Stripes are linked (in the press and on amazon.com, anyway) to the Strokes. However, the White Stripes cash the check that the Strokes have written. Rock and Roll is a lot of things to a lot of people: the Strokes represent the image and the attitude; the Stripes represent a more powerful, yet innocent facet. Detractors are quick to point out the lack of technical ability in the drum department - but it works quite well with the style. Can you imagine a Neil Peart playing over "Fell in Love with a Girl"? It embodies the old punk ethos that sincerity is more important than ability (which works much better for rock music than, say, flying an airplane!). The most striking track on this disc was "We're Going to be Friends". I kept waiting for the schoolboy story to go horribly awry or lapse into some Korn-esque molestation tale, but instead it remained uncorrupted and innocent throughout. The world-weariest track is probably "The Union Forever" - but instead of being whiny and/or jaded-sounding, it takes more of a "rage, rage against the dying of a light" approach. When Jack White sings about "true love" not existing, he sounds honestly like someone who - at some point - believed that it did.
There's no self-defeating irony to be found anywhere on this album, which is a refreshing change. It's a narrow fence to tread upon - taking yourself seriously without taking yourself TOO seriously. The Stripes do this wonderfully. The slide guitar is noticeably absent, and this is more poppy than their subsequent releases, but the spirit remains intact. Indie hipster types are bored of faux-Pavement cleverness and are looking for something a bit more substantial. The Strokes are for the parents and the White Stripes are for the kids. And who was rock and roll invented for, anyway?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock-n-Roll at it's finest,
First of all let me say that the hype is legit. Jack and Meg are definately worth checking out. This is an incredible album from beginning to end. Each song has a certain charm that won't soon be forgotten. I personally think this is their strongest release yet. I don't know if it's their best becuase I like them all about equally.
The guitars are definately more raw sounding on this album than their previous releases. Listen to the guitar work in songs like "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and "Expecting." Both are probably my favorite tracks on the album. Maybe even "Offend in Every Way." However, all are worthy of being favorites. Those three just really stand out for me.
Don't be afraid to buy this album. Hype is just hype. The beautiful thing is that it really has absolutely nothing to do with the music. The music here is great. Period.
If you've been listening to a lot of IDM lately, which I have, you will definately like this album as it will give you the other end of the spectrum to enjoy. This is stripped down rock-n-roll at it's finest. Blues and rock artists from the past would be proud of this release by The White Stripes.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw emotion at its finest,
Here it is! The White Stripes have blossomed into a pair of musicians who care about what matters- the simplicity of life, the magic of music, and the energy of rock 'n' roll. On this album they hit it all, from the simple ("Little Room") to the magic ("This Protector") to the energy ("Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground," "I'm Finding it Harder to be a Gentleman," "Fell in Love with a Girl,"...).
The White Stripes are magical in their own way. Their combination of blues and rock is just perfect for the raw energy they deliver. Their music is fascinated with life, and all aspects of it. From the purity of new love ("Fell in Love with a Girl," "Hotel Yorba," "We're Going to be Friends") to the ferocity of a relationship gone bad ("I Can't Wait," "The Union Forever," "The Same Boy You've Always Known") the White Stripes have a knack for understanding the inner workings of how we react to all aspects of love.
As a duo, Jack and Meg White are outstanding. Jack's wails of passion (whether positive or negative) express a devotion not only to the subject of the song, but to the music as a whole. The energy of the lyrics would be dead without the same power in the instrumentation. The White Stripes have it. Jack rips chord after chord out of his unsuspecting victims (guitars) and Meg pounds mercilessly on her drum set. Of course, there are songs where such tenacity is not required ("Hotel Yorba," "We're Going to be Friends," "This Protector"). In these hushed gems, Jack and Meg remain just as superior as musical counterparts. Jack's soothing guitars matched with Meg's tapping beat are just as relaxing as their other songs are electrifying.
So where are the White Stripes going? Hopefully down this road! This album was one of the few exciting albums of 2001, and for that, I congratulate them.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I feel in love with "Girl" but like entire diverse disc,
I think that "White Blood Cells", which appears to be the breakthrough release for Detroit rockers sibling team White Stripes, might be one of the better examples of why not to trust the first hit single. The first listen to "Feel In Love With A Girl", a blistering guitar and drum combo with memorable phrasing and shrieking vocals, is the strongest rocker on the set. Even with its near one minute and fifty seconds length, I wouldn t be shocked if Top 40 picked this one hope (well I can dream, can t I?). While this song is hyperactive rock fun, the rest of the disc is much more diverse. "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" is slower paced punk track. It borders on near epic with its odd yet intriguing lyrics. "Hotel Yorba", which appears to be the real first single off this album, borders on a silly sing along romance. "I Can t Wait" is an alternative rock track with longing lyrics and excellent musicianship. Other strong songs include "Expecting", "Aluminum" (instrumental with a few wails in the background) and... well most of the tracks. I don t care for the piano only song "This Protector", but I m sure that some people will find the quirky wording and sorrowful keystrokes attractive if not your own personal anthem. Also "I Think I Smell a Rat", which may or may not be about bad kids, is the repetitive pits.
For people that have not given up on rock and/or refuse to accept Creed as the return new idea of what rock is, this is for you. It does not follow one pattern, but jumps from alternative, grunge, punk, blues, acoustic to even a little Spanish guitar influence in there. Its themes go from love lost to teenage awkwardness to much more. It isn't perfect, although the rougher sounding production is nice, but I believe is a harbinger of things to come. I don't own their first two discs but am excited in making that investment. I just can't say enough good things about the group, although a few of the songs are clunkers. I believe Meg and Jack White are headed for rock greatness (or another good follow-up).
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars give the UK credit...,
At first glance, the White Stripes come off as just another case of indie hype, thanks to the fawning British music press. They're quirky to the point of overkill: they're a guitar-drum duo, no bass (how quirky!), they're either a former couple or borther & sister, nobody's saying (how quirky!), they wear coordinating red & white stage clothes (how quirky!), they have a title-less, uber-hip cover photo (how quirky!), the cd has enigmatic liner notes (how quirky!). A first impression of a more jaded listener is that the White Stripes are desperately trying to prove they have Indie Cred up the yinyang. But you know what? Nine times out of ten, the UK music press know talent when they see it, and the White Stripes have it by the truckload.
White Blood Cells is a flat-out winner, a contemporary variation on ancient songwriting styles and themes. Jack & Meg White channel the best of old country-folk and blues, and give it their own loud, boisterous tweak, with Jack's noisy, sometimes sloppy guitar work and Meg's relentless, but sometimes mis-timed drumming. Somehow it all works. The wicked songs 'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground' (what a title!), 'I'm Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman', 'Expecting', and 'Now Mary' have Jack & Meg getting their mojo workin' in a major way, with Jack's vocals coming very close to resembling Robert Plant's. The folkier side sees the Stripes showing some musical range, especially on the subtle 'The Same Boy You've Always Known', the dour 'This Protector', and the absolutely lovely 'We're Going To Be Friends', which sounds like The Kinks doing an Alex Chilton Song.
The two highlights on White Blood Cells are simply extraordinary. 'I Think I Smell A Rat' is a shrill, menacing song with lyrics that carry on like Dr. Seuss on bad acid. I first heard it on the radio while driving late at night, and didn't know what to make of it, but it sure grows on you. 'The Union Forever', though, is in a class all by itself. Played in a slow, deliberate tempo with a funereal organ underscoring the drums & guitar, Jack sings lines of dialogue lifted straight out of Citizen Kane, from "you gotta love me" to "what would I have liked to have been? Everything you hate" to the Charles Foster Kane song sung by the showgirls in the film's party scene. A stunning piece of work, I'm wondering why there's no songwriting credit given to Orson Welles and Frank Mankiewicz.
Sometime too much hype fogs up the product so much that you end up intentionally avoiding paying it any attention, but other times, the attention is deserved. White Blood Cells is an incredibly fun album, and it should be sufficient proof the White Stripes aren't going to disappear anytime soon.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough "Classic" Rock,
This review is from: White Blood Cells [Limited Edition with Bonus DVD] (Audio CD)
The White Stripes came from out of nowhere (although White Blood Cells was already their third album) to rise to the top of the Invasion of the Plural Nouns (The Hives, The Strokes, The Vines, etc.). Maybe it was their added adjective, or their simple color scheme, or their seemingly incestuous brother-sister/husband-wife relationship. After all, marketing has played a very important role in their success.
But none of that would matter if not for the music. White Blood Cells is simply a fine album of simple rock and roll. Jack White's guitar and vocals and Meg White's drums lay down a basic attractive foundation on which to massage rock cliches while remaining true to themselves. The White Stripes are one of the most "influenced" bands I've heard recently, and yet that does not detract from the enjoyment of the music.
I originally became interested as a fan of the film Citizen Kane. I heard that Jack had taken lines from the film and turned it into the song "The Union Forever." I had to hear it. In the process, I ended up listening to the whole CD over and over again. Its short length makes for such an easily repetitive experience.
I look forward to more great things from the duo that calls themselves the White Stripes, whatever their relationship with one another. As long as they keep making music this good, I'll live with whatever marketing scheme they think of next.
32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than most of that stuff out there - 7.5/10,
What do the White Stripes, At The Drive-In, the Strokes, Love as Laughter, the Vines, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, BRMC, Andrew WK, and probably more bands you and I have never heard of, all have in common? Recently, various people stated that these artists were going to "save rock and roll". But look at rock and roll. It hasn't been saved. Creed didn't look at what they were doing and realize it had all been awful and meaningless. Lifehouse didn't give up and die. Nothing's changed.
How exactly do you save rock and roll, anyway? Do you make Creed and Linkin Park and their droves of fans change their mind about what rock should sound like? Do you inspire endless streams of other bands devoted to imitating your sound? If that's the case, Nirvana saved rock and roll by giving us Bush. No. Apparently you just have to make an album with some raw-throat screaming and loud guitars that reminds music critics of some of the great rock bands of the past. Sorry--bands like Television, Led Zeppelin, and especially the Velvet Underground were great because they were innovative, did things their own way and broke rules. Longing for the past and paying tribute to the sound of these bands isn't going to save rock (whatever that means).
However, that's not to say that this isn't an admirable thing to do. We shouldn't malign bands like the Strokes and the White Stripes just for wearing their influences on their sleeves--at least it'll help win the Velvet Underground some new fans. What we have to watch out for are the copy-of-a-copy Strokes clones that are sure to follow. Pray it won't happen. But back to the point: There's nothing wrong with being intentionally retro, especially when part of your sound is uniquely your own. And it sure helps if you can write songs as good as "Fell in Love with a Girl" or "The Union Forever".
Which brings us to the White Stripes' third album, their first to receive mainstream attention, White Blood Cells. How good is it? Well, like I said, it has a few fantastic songs. If they could have made an album of songs that were ALL as good as "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground", "Hotel Yorba", and the two mentioned above, it would be a classic. 9 or 10/10. Undoubtedly. But reviewers get carried away. White Blood Cells is pretty good, but not perfect. There are unremarkable songs like "Expecting" and "Now Mary", and there's a noisy experimental track called "Aluminium", which might have been OK for a change of pace, at half the length; as it is, it's almost unlistenable. But don't let that stop you--the rest of the album is fine. The highs make up for the lows, and the good songs show enough promise to suggest there could be great things in store. The follow-up is due by the end of this year, apparently. Worth looking out for. Hey, maybe it'll even save rock.
PS. Source Tags and Codes, by the aforementioned And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, is a better and more ground-breaking album. But that's another review.
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