Back To The Front
Jack White accomplishes a startling amount with a modest supply of assets. Through forced simplicity or at least confident artistic purpose as The White Stripes, Jack and faux sister Meg have stunned listeners and critics alike with their refined approach and musical variety. That success continues here on the even further stripped down Get Behind Me Satan.
The White Stripes has always clearly been Jack at the helm and this album is no aberration. Here he has delved deeper into his affinity for archaic blues and grassroots country, as this album is rife with its influence. “Little ghost, little ghost/The one I’m scared of the most/Can you scare me up a little bit of love?” White chirps in a high register amidst a flurry of plucked strings on “Little Ghost.” Meanwhile, “The Nurse” finds him singing with patience “I’m never going to let you down now” against minimal cymbal crashes and marimba. The tear-jerking closer “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)” has Jack pouring his heart out Billy Joel-style through an endearing piano ballad.
Some songs sound more like forgotten R&B such as the extremely catchy piano laden “My Doorbell” and “The Denial Twist” than the bombastic solos and distortion fans welcomed openly in 2003’s masterful Elephant. There are a handful of tunes here (“Instinct Blues,” “Red Rain” and “Blue Orchid”) sporting a similar dirty blues-rock approach, yet in its totality this album is a shimmering display by a group that has moved on.
Those seeking another “Ball and Biscuit” might be slightly disappointed. However, what Get Behind Me Satan lacks in showy performance it resoundingly makes up for in melodic excellence.