Get Behind Me Satan
After their last disc, 2003's Elephant, went platinum, won a Grammy for best alternative music album and spawned a mainstream hit in "Seven Nation Army," the White Stripes were in danger of losing their hard earned indie-rock cred. Suddenly Jack White, the group's lead singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer, was dating a movie star (Renée Zellweger), appearing in a major film (Cold Mountain) and producing a country legend (Loretta Lynn). But on the duo's bold and bizarre fifth album, Jack and his ex-wife, drummer Meg White, prove they are pop's oddest couple, reveling in their eccentricities (they still don't use a bass player, and they still only wear red, white and black) and straight-from-the-garage sounds. Their latest sounds startlingly like the work of a great unsigned band selling homemade CDs out of the trunk. Just listen to the raw, jagged guitar and steady, deliberately rudimentary drumming of the first single "Blue Orchid," on which Jack, wailing in his falsetto, does his best Robert Plant imitation. The ghost of Zeppelin also appears on cuts like the fuzz-rocker "Instinct Blues." Elsewhere, the Stripes get their freak on by using marimba on tracks such as the Stonesy ballad "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)," then launch into the bluegrass foot-stomper "Little Ghost." They keep it rootsy on the country-blues "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)," where Jack, who used to lie that Meg was his sister, hints at incestuous urges. Weird, yes—but fascinating.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Blue Orchid"