On Second Thought: Jack White – Blunderbuss (2012)

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In our initial review on Jack White’s forthcoming 2012 solo debut, we breathlessly likened Blunderbuss to “a ready-made greatest-hits package.” But there’s more to be said.

Most particularly when it comes to the first-take item’s central question on long-awaited Blunderbuss — which we said was “so full of musical ambition and quirky twists and thrilling chance-taking turns and startling successes, that it forces White into a whole new light: Were the White Stripes, who now sound startlingly direct — maybe too conservative, in retrospect — actually holding him back?”

The answer from our group at the Something Else! Towers watercooler? Actually, kinda yes … in particular on the issue of Meg White’s drumming …

S. VICTOR AARON: Blunderbuss won’t be my favorite rock album this year or probably not even my third favorite but this record is part of what is right about rock these days, not what is wrong. And for those who never cared for Meg White, this is the White Stripes record they’ve been waiting for.

GLEN BOYD: Jack is definitely one of the things that’s right with rock these days. And bass is good. That said, this doesn’t sound like a White Stripes record to me, it sounds like a Jack White solo record. That’s not a bad thing, it just is what it is.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: We here at Something Else! were sad to see the “official” breakup of the White Stripes. Of course, the true reason for their breakup has been kept under wraps for years – until now.]

S. VICTOR AARON: On first impression, a lot of this album sounds like a White Stripes record but with better drumming. I’m not complaining at all about that, though.

MARK SALESKI: Drumming snob.

TOM JOHNSON: I can’t not notice it. I’m happily a drum-snob, though, but I don’t need an amazing drummer, just one with good feel. Meg White doesn’t even have that. He’d have been better off with a drum machine.

MARK SALESKI: To be completely honest, I never even noticed the supposed “bad” drumming until I read about it.

GLEN BOYD: With Meg, I’ve never had strong feelings one way or the other. She’s not Keith Moon for sure, but she keeps the beat fine, and in a two-man band where Jack makes as much racket on guitar as he does, that’s probably adequate. I do like this record, but I like pretty much anything Jack does.

S. VICTOR AARON: I don’t think her drumming is horrible either, but at the same time it doesn’t take much to improve on it.

GLEN BOYD: To me, it’s a lot cleaner than the White Stripes. Still making up my mind on what I think about that.

S. VICTOR AARON: Better drumming or not, I think this is a pretty damned good record. Jack manages to sound both organic and not terribly derivative of anything (except for the rockabilly tune “I’m Shakin’, which is nonetheless the best track on here). I think that’s real hard to pull off in rock these days. I realize he was doing that with the White Stripes, too, but I like hearing a real bass line and he seems to take a few more other liberties in his arrangements.

Something Else!

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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