Sunday, March 1, 2009

The White Stripes - Elephant


With the follow up to their magnificent White Blood Cells, the record that put them on the map, the White Stripes hit the market in 2003 with Elephant. On Elephant, Jack and Meg White tried to take the music a little further and make it a little better. Elephant is a 14-track beauty that is bound to please even the most stubborn of fans.

The disc opens with Seven Nation Army, a haunting song with a powerful bass line that kicks it off before exploding into high gear. It is a charged opening song and from that moment on, the listener is hooked.

The third track, There’s No Home for You Here, is one of the best on the disc. Jack’s vocals are crisp and the cries of “There’s no home for you here girl, go away, there’s no home for you here” become a chant and a shout that fills your head and never leaves. Loud, angry roars give this song a passionate feel.

I Want to Be the Boy That Warms Your Mother’s Heart is an excellent, mellow track that draws you in and forces you to listen. The melody is smooth and sweet and the lyrics make you think about how people can be so judgmental and what we will do sometimes to seek approval that is neither needed nor should have time wasted pursuing.

Ball and Biscuit contains some of the best guitar work that I’ve ever heard from Jack White. Blistering, long ripping solos fill this song and prove that Jack is great with an axe in his hands. The lyrics are odd, the singing is heavy, and the guitar makes it all worthwhile. A punk filled melody sung with passion, Ball and Biscuit is one of the better moments on this CD.

Elephant is not without its pleasant surprises. Meg White gets to take over lead vocals on Cold, Cold, Night and shares vocals on the album’s final track, Well It’s True That We Love One Another. She has a beautifully sweet voice, the perfect contrast to Jack’s rough vocals.

The aforementioned final track is a strange song that you can’t get out of your head after you’ve heard it. With guest vocals by Holly Golightly, this song is esoteric, and yet highly addictive. Jack, Meg, and Holly all sing in what can only be described as a “campfire, folksong, sing-along.” It’s a happy song about friendship and love, with light, playful, and sometimes silly lyrics. At first I thought it was a throw away piece added to the end of the album, but after listening to the disc a few more times, I realized that it is the perfect way to end the CD. The song is the complete opposite of the opening track and it sets the CD into a perfect balance.

This is a disc that is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Ryo’s Rating: 8 (out of 10)

9 comments:

g said...

first off, i have been sent by matt.

second off, i do have the white stripes in my vast rock collection.

hopefully you agree that ted nugent is the greatest ever and stranglehold is the greatest guitar riff ever.

and i hope you don't mind that i do like your site and will be putting up your link on my blog.

Ryo Vie said...

G -

I'm so glad that Matt is sending readers my way. It means a lot.

Nugent is in the top 5, don't know if I could say he is the best ever. Which leads to an interesting thought... who IS the best ever?

Don't mind that you like my site (I think that's a good thing) and I'm more than happy that you'll be linking me. I always appreciate the links!

g said...

i left the nuge comment for matt to read. we have an ongoing battle over the nuge. truthfully i think matt is a closet stranglehold guitar riff player.

on a serious note, i'm all about david gilmour. runner up would be eddie clarke.

Matt said...

Stranglehold?? Seriously?? I love the Nuge, I've SEEN the Nuge. Of all the great tunes that the local crappy classic rock station KGON could play from his inventory, they choose to play Stranglehold over... and over.... and over.... That solo is soooo boring. You could go out for a bite, come back, and that solo is still playing. Why note Wang Dang Sweet Poontang, or just cut to the chase and play the entire Intensities in Ten Cities - that's some serious Nuge?

I will go out on a limb and say, however, that the Stranglehold solo is marginally better than anything Jack White has ever done. Sorry boys, I'm just not feeling it for the Stripes. I just don't get it. The last good band that boasted random colored lines spelled their name "Styper". But, I thought the Poison concert rocked, so consider the source.

g said...

great, lets now add jack white to your long list of hated musicians - white stripes, ac/dc, the nuge,

matt, do you really like rock at all or is this just a front for hiding behind while you listen to milli vanilli?

Matt said...

Calling White Stripes "rock" is a bit of a stretch IMO? Sounds to me more like someone's electric guitar tumbling down the stairs. My son on Guitar Hero is more musical than this.

And... Milli Vanilli were FRAMED!!!

Matt said...

Right about now Ryo is wondering what the hell he got himself into.

Really, G and I go waaaaaay back. I first began to wonder about G when he came back from Oklahoma and had gone Country. However, he came back with a really swinging van that we could all pile into and cause mayhem. Totally REDEEMED himself!

g said...

careful or i'm going to post a hank williams junior link...

y'all come back now ya hear?

Ryo Vie said...

Matt, how you can not like the White Stripes is beyond me. Perhaps you need to spend quality time with them and get to know their stuff.

Stryper did rock and so did Posion for that matter.

As for Nugent, we know he's great, but Jack White's done stuff that is better than things Uncle Ted did. Remember the Damn Yankees?

And I like Hank Williams Jr.

And don't worry, you guys still rock!