Wednesday, June 15, 2005

White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (V2, 2005)

The White Stripes new album is bound to be a bit of a surprise for both longtime fans and newcomers, breaking away from their minimalist guitar and drums motif to release an album with acoustic guitar, piano, and mallet instruments holding down much of the action. It's an interesting transition, with Jack and Meg White branching out into new territory. For the most part their experiments are quite successful and produce what is possible their deepest and most mature album yet.

Of course it's not all marimba's and bluegrass music. "Blue Orchid" blasts the album out of the gate with overprocessed guitars and some pseudo Freddy Mercury vocals. It's a great single, but things get more interesting with the next several songs. Marimbas and percussion open "The Nurse," a dark tale where the woman who is supposed to be healing him instead pours salt in Jack's cuts. "My Doorbell" is a "Hotel Yorba" - ish sunny pop tune. Jack and Meg don't completely stray from their roots, "Instinct Blues" brings their trademark power blues guitar and pounding drums back to the fore.

The second half of the album does get back into some more varied musical structures and interesting lyrics, particularly "Take, Take, Take" where the narrator meets actress Rita Hayworth, asks for an autograph and then asks for even more in a creepy escalating song about the perils of the dark side of fame. A countryish, acoustic tune "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" is a lighthearted but charming "searching for love" song and ends the disc on an upbeat note. While it's not perfect, the album is quite good and the music offers much more variety then did their previous discs. This is the sound of a great band growing and maturing with time.

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