Jack White


Jack White is a force of nature and among the most notable guitar rockers of the era, and as such, each of his new releases has become a cause for celebration. On Lazaretto, White pulls out all the stops in his wonderfully eclectic fashion. Kicking off with a kick-ass cover of Blind Willie McTell’s “Three Women Blues,” White channels his inner mack daddy. It’s followed by Lazaretto’s funky title track, on which White raps over massively crunchy riffs, bombastic drums, and rustic fiddling: “They wanna blow down the prison / They’re lighting fires with the cash of the masses / And like the dough I don’t fall down / I’m so Detroit I make it rise from the ashes.” Elsewhere, the stirring duet “Temporary Ground” brings in the bluegrass and reinforces White’s country chops, as well as his adeptness at blues. “High Ball Stepper” serves as the album’s showstopper and enshrines White with such guitar gods as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. Meanwhile, “Just One Drink” sounds like the best Jagger/Richards honky-tonk tune that never made it onto Exile on Main Street. However, the song which best taps into the zeitgeist is the philosophic, Woody Guthrie–invoking “Entitlement,” on which the singer — accompanied by pedal-steel guitar — ruefully proclaims, “There are children today who are lied to / Told the world is rightfully theirs / They can have what they want, whenever they want / They take like Caesar and nobody cares.” When all is said and done, it’s the song that resonates the longest, and the best testament to the way White deconstructs and then reupholsters Americana music into something refulgent.


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