140 CHARACTER REVIEWS: JACK WHITE — BLUNDERBUSS

140 Character Reviews is an occasional reoccurring post where we take a highly anticipated album and record our impressions of it track-by-track as we hear it for the first time. We withhold the right to change our minds a few listens later.

To be honest, I’ve never been a massive fan of Jack White’s music. I liked The White Stripes album Elephant and that first Raconteurs album, Broken Boy Soldier. Outside of that I’ve found him to be pretty hit or miss with the misses outnumbering the hits for me. That said, the first time I heard “Love Interruption” I was officially excited to hear the whole album. What follow is my feelings as I heard it for the first time this morning:

  • Missing Pieces: Not bad. Kept waiting for it to become awesome but it never did. Solid opening track though.
  • Sixteen Saltines: This track started & I thought, “this is everything I hated about the White Stripes.” I was rocking out by the end.
  • Freedom At 21: Main keyboard riff sounds like a Black Keys outtake. Loved the track at first kind of drones on by the end.
  • Love Interruption: We’ve all heard this one. Personally, I love the living shit out of this song.
  • Blunderbuss: Love the slide in this song but as a whole I find it pretty boring.
  • Hypocritical Kiss: Nice recovery! Really dig this track. No guitars at all.
  • Weep Themselves To Sleep: loving this track. Mixes the piano-centric sound from the last track w/typical Jack White sound. Positive result
  • I’m Shakin’: Has a bit of a 50’s vibe to it. Pretty standard Jack White fare here. Most interesting part is the female vocals.
  • Trash Tongue Talker: meh. it’s there. it doesn’t offend the ears. doesn’t do anything else either…
  • Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy: either I am starting to suffer from Jack White burnout or all the songs are beginning to just blend together…
  • I Guess I Should Go to Sleep: Opens w/a beat jazz sound. I hate the vocals in this song. That may change over time though.
  • On & On & On: that’s the way the back end of this cd is feeling and the title is indicative of this song. 1st one on the cd I’m skipping.
  • Take Me W/You When You Go: Beginning & End: Horrible. Middle: Awesome. Parts of it are like he channeled Rush & for me, that’s a bad thing.

Upon first review it’s like a bottle of tonic water. It explodes out of the gate but falls flat too quickly. Shame too. I really wanted to love this album. Hopefully the front 1/2 is the shower and the last 1/2 is the grower. We’ll see. I have no doubt I’ll give it a few more listens but if the end never grows on me it’ll be out of my music rotation permanently by month’s end.

Jack White – Love Interruption

Jack White – Sixteen Saltines

THE PACK A.D. – WE KILL COMPUTERS


The title We Kill Computers sums up this band in more ways than you know. Ninebullets has been big supporters of these two girls ever since catching them at Deep Blues Fest (pour out a little liquor…RIP DBF) back in 2k8 and we’ve never been shy about addressing the elephant in the room, so this time I’ll just quote from a past piece I wrote about them:

“[They] vocally and musically sound like The White Stripes…this is their albatross. There is no avoiding it…They’re like the White Stripes minus all the Jack White self-indulgent pretentious bullshit and genre bending, with pure blues-rock added to fill the void. Less commercial, more powerful.”

While We Kill Computers backs off that sound just a little (very little), that pure power chord garage rock is even more amplified this time around. If pressed to give them a genre label, I’d call them Garage Rock Proper. While We Kill Computers isn’t gonna break any new ground it is, IMO, a great album that deserves your attention, and if they ever some to your town do yourself a favor and go see them! Live is where it all comes together and makes believers out of people….myself included.

The Pack A.D. – Crazy
The Pack A.D. – K Stomp
The Pack A.D. – Cobra Matte

The Pack A.D.’s Official Site, The Pack A.D. on myspace, Buy We Kill Computers

THE POOR WAYFARING STRANGER:


It’s been a while since I just wrote about a song (the others are here and here), and even though this won’t actually get posted for a week or more, tonight is made for a night of meditating on “Wayfaring Stranger”. This weekend was horribly overshadowed by death with an internet/real life acquaintance losing his wife many decades before he should have, and our tech guru, Trevor, losing a pet. I know some of you have no idea how sad losing a pet can be, but anyone who’s ever lost a household pet knows how dark that grieving process can actually be. To both Don and Trevor I offer my deepest condolences, and in my own weird way I’m writing about this song for y’all.

“The Wayfaring Stranger” or “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”, like most traditional folk songs, is of an unknown and oft-disputed origin. Depending on who you ask, the song’s origins are Appalachian Folk, Old Irish, or Catskills Folk, with some even theorizing that its origins rest in the Negro Spirituals and that there was a deliberate concealment of the song’s origins. Based on my own limited knowledge and experience from researching other traditional folk songs, I get the feeling that it either started in the slave fields of the old South or came to the Appalachian people via the Irish. Like most other traditional American folk songs there are thousands of variations of “Wayfaring Stranger”, which take great liberties in title, melody, harmony and lyrics. The version we’re most familiar with now was popularized in the middle of the twentieth century by musical researchers and performers such as Pete Seeger and Burl Ives.

The song tells of a wayfaring stranger’s hardships and struggles on this mortal coil and the final reward of reuniting with their loved ones in the afterlife. It has been covered by more people than you can shake a stick at, but here are some of my favorites:

The Standard:

Burl Ives – Wayfaring Stranger

My Favorites:

Scott H. Biram – Poor, Wayfaring Stranger
Laura Love – Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Strawfoot – Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger
Eva Cassidy – Wayfaring Stranger

The Best of the Rest:

16 Horsepower – Wayfaring Stranger
Doc WatsonMerle Watson – Wayfaring Stranger
Emmylou Harris – Wayfaring Stranger
Greenland is Melting – Wayfaring Stranger
Jack White – Wayfaring stranger
Johnny Cash – Wayfaring Stranger
Natalie Merchant – Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Neko Case – Wayfaring Stranger