The White Stripes are an interesting band.  Led by the enigmatic Jack White and his musical partner Meg White, this band was shrouded in mystery when they hit the charts.  From speculations of Jack and Megs actual relationship (They were married and ‘White is Megs last name) to who actually played what in the band all that was certain was that they had something unique and people were listening.

I didn’t run into The Stripes until their album ‘White Blood Cells’ in 2001 but it was my sister who introduced them to me and my the girlfriend/now wife, and soon we became fans and began diving into their discography including today’s album, De Stijl.

Why This Album?

de stijl cover art

The thing that I love about The White Stripes is their simple nature.  Jack and Meg don’t believe in over-producing anything.  They are first and foremost about the music and the sound even if that sound is a little raw, well actually especially when it is.  You see, Jack is an old school rocker. Growing up he cut his teeth on the classics of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors transitioning into the blues of the 50’s and 60’s. It is in the blues that we see the influence that drives that of the White Stripes giving them a classic feel with a modern clarity.

The album De Stijl, named after the Dutch Art Movement of the same name, is about as stripped down as you can get while maintaining a high quality all around.  Jack covers lead vocals but also handles nearly every other instrument sans percussion that is solely Meg’s territory.  Not only do the two cover the majority of the music, they also produced the album themselves making it a truly independent album while also giving it a rather unique quality.

The songs are a mix of folk diddies and blues numbers with the occasional sorrowful love song tossed in for good measure.  Jack’s voice dances between melodic to edgy depending on the situation with his incredible guitar work hinting that he may have taken a nod from Robert Johnson and sold his own soul for his incredible talent.  While Jack dominates the album it is Meg’s relentless drumming and percussion that keeps Jack in line never missing a beat and making her impact known throughout each and every song.  She is a power drummer and really tears the skins up every chance she gets.  We even get a chance to hear her own vocals in the track Your Southern Can is Mine giving that final track a quality country flavor.

All in all, this is my favorite era of the Stripes.  It is simple, fun and really showcases who they are at their core.  While their later albums have some very memorable tunes, this entire album is a work of art and remains a favorite of mine to this day.

Favorite Tracks

I’m Bound To Pack It Up

It’s a breakup song but one that doesn’t hedge it’s bets.  Solid, sad and kinda catchy, this is a great one.

Sister, Do you Know My Name

This one, much like a later song, evokes the loneliness of being at school and not knowing a soul.  It’s great, sorrowful and classic.

Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise.

I love the opening guitar in this one giving it a very vintage 60’s/70’s feel.  It’s raw and solid through and through.

Ok, Where do I get it?

This one is a little difficult to find on CD these days but you can grab a copy on vinyl here.  You can also listen on Spotify so there is that option as well.

Give it a go, I think you may dig it.

Late to the Game 4/28/2020

Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these movies as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow us if you like the blog!

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