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Review: "Get Behind Me Satan" by White Stripes


Guest Low Roller
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Guest Low Roller

I just listened to the new White Stripes disc "Get Behind Me Satan" for the first time.

My first impression is one of reserved excitment yet slight apprehension. Gone is the delta-blues-punk sound that brought them some early noteriety in the indie-days. Gone are the crunching guitars that shread their way past lesser bands. Enter a more country-influenced sound, a whole variety of instruments other than guitar, and a mature crisp sounding production.

The album starts off with the single "Blue Orchid", one of only two or three songs that has the trademark Jack White guitar sound. It's a fast paced romp, which is nothing groundbreaking, yet not insulting either. It's not the next "Seven Nation Army" but it will fit well on a Greatest Hits disc ten years from now.

This is where things get weird.

Track 2 "The Nurse" starts off with a freaking xylophone and marimbas! Now how do you explain that on a White Strips album? Jack sings softly about heartbreak over almost a carribean sound. It's a good tune, but just weird to hear from the White Stripes.

"My Doorbell" is the closest thing to blues on this entire disc, lyrics wise. Jack is flexing his piano playing abilities while doing a pretty good Scatman impersonation during the chorus.

"Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)" is probably the low point of the album. It's yet another song about heartbreaks, love, and everything in between. Piano, acoustic guitar, and drums... [color:purple]MY GOD! Jack can play a guitar and a piano at the same time! He's a genius!! I wonder how they will pull this off live?

Track 5 "Little Ghost" will please all y'all bluegrass fans because it's a pleasant little ditty with Jack on mandoline and Meg on tambourine, and both hitting a very nice harmony on vocals.

"The Denial Twist" is back to the piano/drum combo. Is that a bass guitar I hear? The song sounds like it sound be classic White Stripes tune, but inexplicably Jack stepped to the piano rather than to the guitar for this tune.

"White Moon" same piano/drum formula as above, but at a much slower tempo. Jack sounds sad. Why does he sound sad? Should I feel sad? The song is sad. I guess I'm sad too.

"Instict Blues" is a return to the crunching blues guitar, the distorted vocals, and the smashing cymbals that I have come to expect from the White Stripes. One of the highlights of the disc.

"Passive Manipulation" is a lame song with Meg on vocals and Jack on piano. Next.

We're now at Track 10 entitled "Take, Take, Take". I can hear an accoustic guitar, a piano, and drums... again I question how they will pull this song off live.

"As Ugly As I Seem" reminds me of something... I can't put my fingers on it... It almost sounds like a Nick Drake tune or a Leo Kottke tune... good acoustic playing by Jack.

"Red Rain" starts off with bells and a hint of an inpending classic. The song does not disappoint with its classic distorted White Stripes melody, and once again Jack decides to pick up an electric guitar. From the sounds of it, it's the same deep-sounding guitar that was used for Seven Nation Army.

The album ends with a Jack piano solo "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)". You can hear the Loretta Lynn influence from a mile away. Meh.

Jack White seems to have chosen the piano as his weapon of choice for the White Stripes 5th album because all but two songs have it. The guitar is for the most part hidden in the background just to serve as a reminder that, yes, Jack White plays some guitar. Jack's voice is sounding better than ever.

Meg's drumming is astronomically better than what it was in their early days, which is no surprise considering Jack White's demanding work ethic.

This album is a crossroad for the band. Either the White Stripes have exhausted their bag of tricks and are essentially scraping the bottom of their collective talent in an attempt to stay fresh, or this is a transition, a precursor of sorts, to a new direction that the White Stripes are embarking on and are simply testing the waters.

Is the album good: yes. Is it the aggressive blues disc that I wanted to hear: no.

Quite the place to be left standing.

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"White Moon" same piano/drum formula as above, but at a much slower tempo. Jack sounds sad. Why does he sound sad? Should I feel sad? The song is sad. I guess I'm sad too.

Hahaha! Great review LR! Reminds me of Bart though...

Eh, making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.
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"Is it the aggressive blues disc that I wanted to hear: no."

Glad to hear it. There's no point in constantly pumping out the same 'stuff'

"Jack White seems to have chosen the piano as his weapon of choice for the White Stripes 5th album because all but two songs have it. "

Wicked, I look forward to hearing this 'change'

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I'm picking this up new CD either today or tomorrow. It's the only album I've been really looking forward to getting all year - excluding surprise CDs like Cold Roses by Ryan Adams.

I've listened to 4 of the songs from " Satan " already and I have to say that the lead-off single, Blue Orchid, is the weakest single of their career. It uninspires and is repetetive. Here's their past 4 lead-off singles and all are excellent: Jimmy The Exploder, You're Pretty Good Looking ( For A Girl ), Fell In Love With A Girl, Seven Nations Army.

I have no problem with The Stripes changing directons and knew this time was coming. Jack is one of the most talented musicians going these days and even if this album fails to thrill long-time Stripes fans ( like me ), this album is a necessary diversion and direction.

KevO: Don't start with this album. Try starting with any of their early albums like their best, Elephant or what I think is their most consistent, De Stijl.

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