Jack White gone solo, Jack White gone crazy with the album ‘Blunderbuss’.
In the standardized, sometimes definitely boring musical palette it is refreshing to find some unusual new colours. Jack White, a typical odd-one-out of contemporary music industry, a mixture of black, white and red, is always ready to surprise his audience and make them wonder: can this guy be any more imponderable, wacky and weird?
And the answer is yes, he can. His first solo album, called Blunderbuss is a perfect representation of his chaotic, confused, inexplicable, yet wonderful and extremely attractive personality. The title of the album is already a mystery. According to dictionaries, blunderbuss means either an obsolete short musket with large bore and flared muzzle or a clumsy unsubtle person (Coincidence? I don’t think so).
White, 36, is one of the strangest characters of today’s musical scene and probably one of the most charismatic heroes of our generation. As a faithful messenger of extinct times, he grew up to be real old-fashioned blues guitarist and a modern, eccentric rockstar at the same time. A genius, or a madman, who knows. All we know is that in the last fifteen years this gifted freak has given the world 3 iconic bands, with the raw and energetic rock and roll music of the legendary group The White Stripes, the more poetic and complex melodies of the Raconteurs, and the vibrant and intense tracks of The Dead Weather.
And now finally, after a painfully long silence, he prepared his first solo project which is available from April 24 in the record stores. With the two pre-released songs, Love Interruption and Sixteen Saltines, he raised our expectations quite high since these two wonderful tracks were so different yet so typical of Jack White. And now the time has come and all the 45 minutes of the musical pot-pourri mixed by the freshly divorced musician is available for the famished audience.
Despite being a completely biased and narrow-minded fan of Jack White, the judgement of Blunderbuss was not as easy and unambiguous as I first thought. Obviously, it is full of brilliant songs and he hits the usual, exceptionally high standard, but it was not only a little unexpected but also sometimes gratuitously random and radical. Apart from the surprisingly soft country, jazz and blues tunes like in the title song Blunderbuss, the scale of the album also includes rap (like in Freedom at 21) and hysterically wild frenzy of rage (as in Sixteen Saltines, also accompanied with a psycho vision-like video).
Although the dissolution of The White Stripes was very much expected after Jack and Meg White split up, and his second divorce from former model and singer Karen Elson was reported to be peaceful and friendly, we cannot disregard the fact that these events happened around the time he wrote these songs, and that probably explains the bitter and disappointed tone and the not-so-subtle misogyny of the lyrics.
As I said before, the musical part is a melting pot of his different sides and personalities. Luckily, it still contains the good old White Stripes heritage, spiced with the craziness and wildness of the Dead Weather, but it provides something more, something new. It is not a graceful and careless effusion of love and happiness, but rather pieces of a complicated and confused mind that cannot be read without effort.
Blunderbuss cannot be compared to other band members’ solo experiments, because let’s admit it, Jack White has always been the soul and brain of all the bands he has played in. His personality and charm is so unique and impressive that all his songs carry the typical Jack White features whether we are talking about melancholic urban country or crazy psycho-rock’n’roll. Blunderbuss is a chaotic, impressionist painting with a wide range of old and new colours, some of them are pleasing, some of them are shocking and some are simply incomprehensible, but it is true art from a weird genius, a time traveler stuck in the rushing, mechanic and digital 21st century, who still managed to create something unique and honest. Don’t give Blunderbuss a try, give it at least three, and you will definitely grow into appreciating it, I promise.