‘Lazaretto’ by Jack White

By on July 3, 2014

Lazaretto really surprised me.  White blends rock and blues adding subtle hints of country, giving us some twang here and there without ever letting it fully take over the album. It’s like if you were to throw a record by The Doors and The Rolling Stones into a blender and add a dash of country, this is the record that you would get. The inclusion of the country influences only accentuates the music, giving it a little extra flavor. Kind of like bacon in green beans: you don’t need it, but it sure makes it taste better.

On “Would You Fight For My Love?” White discusses his doubt that he is ever good enough for his significant other, saying, “It’s not enough that I love you/ There’s all these things I have to prove to you.” He calls out someone who seems to have nothing better to do than start trouble on “I Think I Found The Culprit” saying, “I think I found the culprit/Looks like you, it must be you/Ain’t found nothing better yet./ What’s the matter with you, you got nothing to do?”

The fully instrumental “High Ball Stepper” is absolutely brilliant, showing off his sublime guitar playing, and it sounds like it would have fit perfectly in to Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill.

As stand-alone tracks “Three Women,” the title “Lazaretto,” “Would You Fight For My Love?,” “High Ball Stepper,” “Just One Drink,” and “I Think I Found The Culprit” are standouts; but this is an album that is meant to be listened to all the way through for the full intended experience: really loud, and/or on vinyl. One thing that I love about this album is that he gets exactly what he’s feeling across through the instrumentals. They’re dizzying in all the right ways, sending you on a musical acid trip from which you don’t want to come back. He can hit a guitar riff and you literally think, “Oh, he’s pissed.”

Have you ever just not been able to get into an artist until they released a certain album that you just really connected to? Well that’s Jack White and Lazaretto for me. After listening to this album and learning more about him, I hate that I haven’t paid more attention to him before now. He’s an amazing artist and one that will definitely be remembered long after he is gone.

I’ll admit that sometimes I have a bad tendency to dismiss an artist’s work just because I heard one song by them that I didn’t care for. We all do it. It happens. I sometimes blame the radio for this. When one song by an artist is played over and over, you get sick of them, and anything by them bugs you. But I’m learning to not discredit an entire artist because of one song. In fact, I’ve found that records that I think I’m not going to like all that much, I end up loving.

You’ve just got to give things a chance and break out of your comfort zone, and music is no different. But overall this is a fantastic record, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Oh, and are we sure that Jack White isn’t the long lost son of Tim Burton and Janis Joplin, or something? Because if not, this album isn’t helping dispel that question.


Taylor Dougherty


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