Get Behind Me Satan
So Jack has seemingly come to realize that the novelty of the White Stripes’ design is losing steam. Maybe it was his plan all along to back the band so far into a corner that people would jump up and sing their praises when they finally decided to step out of their self-inflicted box. Pretty clever indeed.
On this latest album, the fuzz has disappeared, the formulaic guitar has taken a back seat, and the drums, well, maybe Meg’s formula is more of a talent constraint than a gimmick.
The album was recorded over a two-week period, and despite its many triumphs ultimately sounds unfinished, like the rough draft of a great story. Which happens to be the most annoying thing about the WS (besides Megs occasional singing). They (and when I say they, I mean he) are an innovative band on the cusp of greatness, a forgotten name on the tip of one’s tongue, just short of Eureka! Their undercooked sound may be due to the aforementioned recipe Jack’s adhered to. However, Get Behind Me Satan shows the signs of some vague pink area existing between the red and white.
While the single, ‘Blue Orchid’ should be the falsetto bang that kick-starts the album, it actually strikes more like a faint dud. The second track, ‘The Nurse’, really opens the door for what lies ahead with flourishing marimbas and clashing cymbals. The rest of the album ranges from a little bluegrass ditty that resembles an impromptu Phish jam to a few pop-blues tracks leaning towards such mainstream sounds as the Black Crows or even Maroon 5 (song 6). To previous fans that may seem disappointing, but believe me, it is a welcomed change that humanizes the media machine they’ve created.
As always, Jack’s lyrics are both playful and poignant. His voice sounds better than ever, and besides a couple of throw away tracks he has produced a dynamic album that critics and fans alike will likely ponder with the anticipation of what will follow, be it skillfully crafted songs, or more publicity tomfoolery.