Top Ten Thursday: Jack White Out
Continuing our week of unabashed love and adoration for Jack White, we thought what better than to bring an all-Jack list to the masses (or…our friends’ basements), and a day early at that. Our discussions were actually much longer and vicious than our usual list quarrels, really feeling the weight of making such a jam-packed list as this. We discussed a few songs off of Blunderbussmaking the list (primarily “Love Interruption”, “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” and “Trash Tongue Talker”) before finally settling on leaving them off, since they have only had a week to sink in, unlike these other songs, which we have loved and rocked out to for years. So without further ado, the best of Jack White:
10. The Dead Weather- “I Cut Like a Buffalo”
Our one and only Dead Weather song, “I Cut Like a Buffalo” somehow manages to be completely menacing and totally groovy at the same time. Kind of psychedelic, dub metal and even some hip hop elements, making for the type of song only Jack White could concoct.
9. The White Stripes- “Hardest Button to Button”
It was hard not to include “Seven Nation Army”, a song that has become an epic sports anthem, but “Hardest Button to Button” has the same ruthless stomp plus ad unbelievable build and just a bit more cream in the middle.
8. The White Stripes- “A Martyr for My Love For You”
We saw Jack White debut this song with the Stripes on his 2006 tour at Bonnaroo, and it is perhaps his most mesmerizing song. It pulls some of the country elements from his Dolly Parton “Jolene” cover, but gives the song his own tongue-twisting treatment lyrically. “Martyr” touches on the bittersweet nature of love, something he hits on a ton on Blunderbuss and perfected lyrically on “Love Interruption”.
7. The Raconteurs- “Carolina Drama”
Our one and only Raconteurs song, which is collectively our least favorite Jack White project (though still good by industry standards), “Carolina Drama” stands out clearly as the best song in the Raconteur catalog. While the twists and turns in Jack White’s intricate storytelling may not be as encapsulating or as dense as R. Kelly’s legendary Trapped in the Closet series (which is returning), it is the next best thing.
6. The White Stripes- “The Nurse”
The first of two tracks off of our collectively favorite White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan, “The Nurse” also stands as one of the most experimental and avante garde tracks White did with the Stripes. Laying on a creaky bed of marimba and maracas crawls a piano trail amidst attacks by piercing guitar and crashing cymbals.
5. The White Stripes- “White Moon”
Probably the most subdued of all Stripes songs, “White Moon” is also potentially my favorite. I just picture Jack sitting alone in a room, coming up with phrases off the top of his head that only occasionally have meaning, but are always dripping with emotional sentiment. White’s knack for crafty wordplay and understanding of what it takes to write a great song make him a one-of-a-kind talent.
4. The White Stripes- “Death Letter”
In many ways I see Jack White as this generation’s Eric Clapton, and in many ways the White Stripes are the equivalent to Cream, his best known output and a refurbished version of the blues. “Death Letter” is a balls-to-the-wall cover of a Son House song, and if you ever catch the White Stripes live (which may never happen again), “Death Letter” is arguably the biggest show stopper.
3. The White Stripes- “Icky Thump”
Lead title tracks never get this good. For those foreign to the White Stripes, let “Icky Thump” serve as a perfect intro and swift kick to the short pants. You rarely hear guitar licks as thick and tasty as the one served up on “Icky Thump”.
2. The White Stripes- “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”
An absolutely iconic Stripes song, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” leaves the lyrics to a minimum and lets Jack’s axe do the talking. “Dead Leaves” opens with an incredibly illustrative guitar riff, as the song continues strictly on the back of the Jack’s guitar play, which is heavy, yet melodic and measured.
1. The White Stripes- “Ball & Biscuit”
Seven minutes in heaven. “Ball & Biscuit” captures just about everything we love about Jack: the huge classic blues riff, crafty wordplay, bloody raw guitar solos, and an untouchable swagger.
Here are the three songs that were “Whited Out” off the list and just missed:
Todd: The White Stripes- “Cannon”
Jack White is known for picking the not-so-obvious choices for his television appearances, with maybe his most iconic example of this being his combination of garage rock cut “Cannon” with classic gospel/blues standard “John the Revelator” on Conan O’Brien. Unfortunately we are unable to find the full video (probably because NBC wants to hide every trace of Conan being on their network), but if you skip ahead to 7:55 of this video, you can see the epic ending to the performance.
Wes: The White Stripes- “Hotel Yorba”
I had a hard time deciding between two White Blood Cells’ tracks in “Hotel Yorba” and the theatrical “The Union Forever”, but I ended up settling on “Hotel Yorba”, for its scrappy, feel-good nature that plants itself in your brain.
Austin: The White Stripes- “300 mph Torrential Outpour Blues”
Another near make for our list, “300 mph” is just one more song where Jack White seemingly lulls you into a comfort zone before kicking things up to 11. Austin’s deep love for Icky Thump is shown with this choice.
So there is the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, or got right, but still feel free to just rip on us in general …