The White Stripes 2nd studio album De Stijl was released in June of 2000 and while it didn’t rise up the charts, it did become a cult favorite of fans. Fans loved the raw approach and simple lyrics.
The White Stripes were Jack White and Meg White. Meg was Jack’s one-time wife. While being known for its low fidelity take on production and lyrics, the band was also known for it’s fashion and design aesthetic. The colors red, black, and white were featured in pretty much everything they did. The band started in Detroit in ’97. After releasing 3 albums locally, they broke out in 2002. In 2015, Rolling Stone named them the sixth greatest duo of all time.
By Adrian Denning https://twitter.com/adenning/
You’re Pretty Good Looking / Hello Operator / Little Bird / Apple Blossom / I’m Bound To Pack It Up / Death Letter / Sister, Do You Know My Name? / Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise / A Boy’s Best Friend / Let’s Build A Home / Jumble, Jumble / Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me? / Your Southern Can Is Mine
What happens? Well, they do much the same as before. The same guitars, vocals, drums approach recorded very raw and live, I suppose. Love the opening song, a little poppy melody encased within a garage rock, recorded in an actual garage ( by the sounds of it! ) approach. ‘Hello Operator’ is hard-hitting and ‘Little Bird’ includes nice blues sounds. I welcome the blues sounding alive like this. The pounding drums of Meg White come in, the guitar see-saws – this is good stuff. A change of style for ‘Apple Blossom’, and it becomes apparent that ‘De Stijl’ is a better-paced record than the debut, that a little more thought went into it, or perhaps just that Jack White had gotten a little better at writing songs. ‘Apple Blossom’ includes Piano, a nice vocal melody, and a gorgeous feel. It sounds fifty years old, in the best possible way. ‘I’m Bound To Pack It Up’ is a good folk song, and this guy can write songs that sound authentic, so much so – you worry that they actually are. The songs and lyrics are nothing new, nothing astonishing, but for this album at least – just so easy to listen to. You’d expect something of a song called ‘Death Letter’ wouldn’t you? It doesn’t disappoint. Bluesy electric guitar – simple parts. Primitive drums, simple parts. Simple lyrics and a simple vocal approach. Is there a theme developing here? Sometimes the key to a good artist is in being so into your own music, you convince the listener that it’s good simply through your own conviction. There is plenty of conviction all through ‘De Stijl’, and yeah, it convinces.
‘Sister, Do You Know My Name’ sounds sweet and romantic and I adore the guitar sound in places. Only in places, but in all places it’s okay, you know? The vocal is soft and makes you believe everything is real – again, a suspension of disbelief thing going on. And this song is followed by a song intriguingly titled ‘Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise’. Jack varies his guitar tone and plays piano too. Good song, dark sounding, very atmospheric, and haunting. Of the remaining five songs, not everything works. The brief blast of noise that is ‘Jumble, Jumble’ may be better titled ‘Jungle Jungle’ given the sound it evokes. Good stuff, actually! ‘Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me’ goes down Led Zeppelin road and the closing ‘Your Southern Can Is Mine’ is back to the blues/folk roots. Like Jack is singing from a field – again, convincing. ‘De Stijl’ convinces, is very listenable and modest sounding and an improvement over their debut.
Photo by by Michael Sauers – White Stripes, De Stijl | Michael Sauers | Flickr
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