Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review...

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review of an Album I Haven't Heard in its Entirety.

Asking me to write an unbiased review of Jack White’s new album "Blunderbuss" is like asking an 8 year old to write an objective review on Disney World. There is just no way I won’t love this album. Jack could put out an album of instrumental accordion work and I would probably be first in line to buy it. This is not to say that I think Jack can do no wrong. Remember that whole ICP 7” thing? Yeah, still not loving that one.

It is just that Jack is continually evolving, as he should. He is not the kind of artist that is going to rehash his successes over and over again. This is not a White Stripes album, nor is it intended to be. If you are expecting a repeat of what you have heard in the past, you will probably be disappointed.

I can’t help but remember back to when the White Stripes "Elephant" CD came out. Remember way back then when people still listened to CD's? This is almost embarrassing to admit now, but after the very first listen back in 2003 I thought, “What the heck is this crap?” Yes, I thought that (blushing). Shortly after, I woke up and realized that "Elephant" is pretty epic, but it wasn't "White Blood Cells." At that time, I wanted another "White Blood Cells." Jack and Meg were evolving. I didn’t get it, at first. I listen to it today and try to remember what it was that I didn’t like at first and of course, I have no idea.

The first song the world heard off Jack's new album "Blunderbuss" was "Love Interruption," a sweet sounding but lyrically bitter acoustic duet with Ruby Amanfu. It gave us our first hint into the excitement that would be Jack’s first ever solo album, but Jack was quick to point out that this song was not representative of the tone of the album. Which only led to more wonder and excitement about what to expect.

Then on 03-03, a date that was fitting for Jack White, we heard a second song from his album during his performance on Saturday Night Live. “Sixteen Saltines” made me thirsty for more. This is the kind of stuff I was hoping for, Jack doing what Jack does best on guitar. In response to a comment that the album was 90% piano, Jack said in a vault chat that “There's more guitar solos by me on this record than any I’ve made since Icky Thump.” I took that comment as sort of tongue in cheek. (Jack, sarcastic? No.) After all, Jack has put out three albums since Icky Thump in 2006, but on two of those albums (the Dead Weather), he was the drummer. He wasn't doing many guitar solos at all.

"Freedom at 21" was the third song released ahead of the album. On April 1st, TMR released a limited edition Flexi Disc of this vinyl single by attaching them to helium balloons and letting them fall from the sky into lucky fans hands. While I had hoped for some strong winds to blow a balloon from Nashville to Fort Worth, it seems a bunch got tangled together and one very lucky family ended up with several copies. Of course, they ultimately landed on E-bay, and it sold for over $4000. Lucky bastards. Note to self: Work on convincing hubby to move to Nashville. Oh yeah, the song, I almost forgot. Love it. Seriously. I think my favorite of what I have heard so far. I am growing more excited.

Now it was time to just sit back and wait (not so) patiently for the April 24th release date. Then I heard over the week-end that the album leaked. I struggled with whether to download the torrent. I have already pre-ordered the vinyl (so therefore already a paying customer) and I have a strong aversion to paying for the same album twice (i.e. vinyl & iTunes), I even wrote a blog about that once. Downloading the torrent didn’t present a moral issue. It was more about waiting and letting the excitement build and hearing it as (and when) it was intended. Almost as soon as I decided that I would wait for the official release, Jack went ahead and made it available to stream on iTunes for free a week before the album officially came out. Free, Legal, Now.

So what is a girl to do? My very favorite ways to listen to a album for the first time is to put it on the record player or put on my headphones and go for a long run. Both of these methods allow me to focus on the music with no distractions.

I caved. I am listening to the album for the first time via on the iTunes stream as I type this blog. Well, I thought I caved. iTunes kept buffering every time it would start to play a song I haven't heard yet. How does iTunes know how to annoy me so effectively? I don't usually have buffering issues on my computer so I can only assume it the universe telling me to wait for the vinyl. Or as a friend posted on my blog Facebook page, when I complained about my iTunes issues, "Careful...your computer may not be able to handle such awesomeness!"

So, here it is, My pre-review of an album that I haven't actually heard in its entirety:

I love it y'all. Of course I do.

This might be the first time I ever typed the (not really a) word y'all in the 14 years that I have lived in Texas. It seems appropriate this time.


  1. Yay! I totally agree! Are you going to the Blunderbuss listening party Monday night at Good Records?

  2. Great review. I think you are spot on that Jack is ever evolving. This is an exciting record.


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