White Blood Cells

The White Stripes

Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Kicking off with a riff and attitude straight from the Zeppelin playbook, Jack and Meg White let the listener they are unapologetic classic rock aficionados doing it their way "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" is one of those early Zeppelin songs you'd swear Page had written, and it sets the tone for the White Stripes' major-label debut, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 White Blood Cells.

The best White Stripes work has an indie rock feel with a bluesy rock influence and loud guitars and a sense of fun. Witness the opening quartet of "Dead Leaves," the stomping "Hotel Yorba," the acid-rock revival of "I'm Finding it Harder to Be a Gentleman" and the flat-out punk "Fell In Love With A Girl." As their third effort to date, not only does this rival anything the Stripes have done, but it darn near beats out anything they would do since...and it beats out most rock music of 2001.

Some of the music updates classic sounds; spot the Neil Young influence on "The Union Forever" or the Zeppelin infusion of "Dead Leaves" and "Expecting," and try not to hear the Paul McCartney cuteness of "We're Going To Be Friends." But it all sounds like Jack White, with a Detroit stomp and a true love of music that's not smirkingly hip or ironic.

What makes the White Stripes ultimately worth the journey is this lack of pretension. Garage rock is supposed to sound like this, immediate and necessary. Even when the Whites freak out on something like "Aluminum," they keep both feet on the cracked pavement. 15 songs in 40 minutes, most of them solid, all of them fun, all owning a Stripes identity infused with what has come before. One of the best of 2001.

Rating: B+

User Rating: A-



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