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Jack White's 'Blunderbuss' is a mature, thoughtful solo effort

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 13:04

Jack White

Blunderbuss

(Third Man/Columbia)

Grade: B+

The pale and unconventional musician is still at it, 10 years after fans first fell in love with him. This time it’s just his name on the marquee. If Blunderbuss is what White sounds like solo, it makes you wonder why he waited so long to do so.

Blunderbuss is mature and thoughtful, which can be a bad thing for impatient listeners. It would be a shame for them to not give it a chance. Any White fan would truly love this album.

It doesn’t seem fair to compare Jack White’s solo endeavor to the level of the White Stripes, Raconteurs or Dead Weather. Jack White has such a signature style that it’s hard not to think back to previous work.

There are certain piano and guitar bits that remind fans that White still has a playful side to him that is unpredictable and fresh (“Freedom At 21”), his lyrics are as curious as ever. Sometimes his intentions are somewhat masked (“Love Interruption”) and sometimes he is painfully obvious (“Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy”).

It’s also hard to overcome my own bias as a rabid White fan. Blunderbussis different and you can tell that it is because White himself is different. His music reflects the life of a 36-year-old father of two with his own record label.

Blunderbuss’s second single “Sixteen Saltines” is by far the catchiest tune, but also has the darkest sexual undertones: “She's got a pink mailbox that she puts out front/Garbage in, garbage out, she's getting what she wants.”

It’s raunchy and naughty, but it is only a fraction of the entire album that explores the connection between blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. I like to think of it as the illustrious sound of Nashville, the city White currently calls home.

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