Detroit rocker goes solo with ‘Blunderbuss’

Mike Wang, Clarion staff

Jack White is back with the first solo album of his career: “Blunderbuss.” Ever since the break-up of the White Stripes, and the in-limbo statuses of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, fans of White have been eagerly anticipating this release.

While this album is White’s solo release, the album boasts 18 other players on it as well. One thing White isn’t afraid to do is reach out and play with other musicians. However, make no mistake, White records most of the instrumentation on this record himself. White also wrote the entire album over the course of just one session. He has said that the songs on the record were written from scratch, and had nothing to do with anything or anyone.

“Blunderbuss” starts off with The Raconteurs-esque number “Missing Pieces.” The song is by far the strangest sounding open to an album Jack White is playing on. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the curious sounding organ in the song.

The album then takes a turn with the banger “Sixteen Saltines.” The track is the second single of the album. This is a song for those who are longing for a White Stripes tune. It is full of angry energy and raw riffs. With lyrics like “Force fed, force mixed ‘till I drop dead… You can’t defeat her, when you meet her you’ll be what I said,” you can really feel White’s fury.

“Freedom At 21,” the album’s third single, is a track that grows on you after several listens. It has a bouncy melody during the verse, and a heavy riff for the chorus. It also features some unique double bass work, which is new territory for White.

The album slows down considerably for the fourth track and first single, “Love Interruption.” White sings a duet with singer Ruby Amanfu. With lyrics like “I want love… To roll me over slowly… stick a knife inside me… and twist it all around,” the song is deep. It gives off the sense of some underlying anger. The title track “Blunderbuss” follows and continues with the slower pace. White plays piano for this one.

“Blunderbuss” picks back up again with “Hypocritical Kiss.” White plays the keys brilliantly on this track.

This is another song with some underlying anger to it, possibly about a woman. “Weep Themselves to Sleep” is next and White plays piano and guitar for this one. The solo is a ‘classic’ Jack White dirty slide solo.

“I’m Shakin’” shocked me. I did not expect what I had heard. But, I loved it! The song is a Rudy Toombs cover with White putting his own spin on things, and it works to perfection. This song will be stuck in your head for days after you hear it, and it has a Bo Diddley reference. Who doesn’t love that?

The albums best track is far and away “Trash Tongue Talker.” It is a straight up high-energy blues song. It will instantly remind you of all those late nights that you’ve forgotten. “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” follows the party track with a mellow groove. After this however, the album hits a bit of a lull.

“I Guess I Should Go to Sleep” and “On and On and On” all have some decent enough parts, however there just isn’t enough there for you to really latch on to. Both tracks seem a bit out of place on the album.

Not to worry, as White delivers on the finale, “Take Me with You When You Go.” The track features a plethora of instruments including fiddle, mandolin, organ, piano, stand-up bass, guitars and drums. This is a fun track as the song really picks up and is full of life. The track seems to encompass every aspect of all other songs on the record. This song has some rocking solos and is epic sounding.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed “Blunderbuss.” Ever since the break-up of The White Stripes I have eagerly anticipated this release. Aside from two later tracks, this album is absolutely solid. I’ve come to expect nothing less from the Detroit native.