The White Stripes will release their sixth album Icky Thump via Warner Bros. on June 19th. Most of you have probably heard the first single/title track from the album by now, but I still feel compelled to share my thoughts about the tune. "Icky Thump" made its way onto the internet and radio about a month ago and initially came across as much weirder than it really is. The "weirdness" is mostly due to the awesomely eerie late 60s/early 70s heavy metal synth-organ howls permeating the track and the intermittent stop/start feel. Jack and Meg are playing heavier on this track than we have yet to hear them. Yes, this means crunchy garage metal riffage and deliberate, crashing drums. Jack yelps come across like a possessed Robert Plant (see, i.e., the "la la la las" at the end of the second verse) and his lead guitar licks are reminiscent of an early Stripes classic, "Hello Operator". The third verse has the best lyrics and the overtly political ("White Americans, what nothing better to do/Why don't you kick yourself out/You're an immigrant too") is washed down with the downright witty ("You can't be a pimp and a prostitute too"). Jack White knows he's a rock star and not some sort of political figurehead, as such he's too smart to ever come across as preachy or pretentious. The tune strikes an impressive balance between the classic White Stripes sound and just the right amount of experimental flare, making “Icky Thump” an anthem that will appeal to long-times fans as well as mainstream radio audiences.
The Stripes last album, Get Behind Me Satan, saw the band expanding their sound while maintaining a firm grasp on what made them great in the first place. Some of the chances the band took fared better than others, but GBMS was still an impressive work. Upon listening to "Icky Thump", it appears their progression is not losing steam and is leading the band to even bigger and more interesting places. Jack White is arguably the best rock star in modern music, not to mention one of the most talented and prolific. Shortly after wrapping the recording sessions for Icky Thump, he entered the studio with his fellow Raconteurs in the hopes of hammering out their sophomore record before the White Stripes went out on tour. Even though he rarely (if ever) stops to catch his breath, it often appears the man can simply do no wrong.
Stream the tune:
If you are seeking a MP3, the track is available via iTunes or try here.
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