Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Genius Of… Jack White #1

#1: Fly Farm Blues

Against the verterans that are Gedge and Smith, Jack White could be regarded as a precocious young upstart. But what Jack White has done in 15 years is really not to be sniffed at. He's accrued a body of work that it could be argued is among the most influential to new artists today. One listen to the Royal Blood album - a recent number one and probably the most hyped record of the year - pretty much proves my point. Jack White oozes through the thing.

Iano1 recently left a comment on a post here claiming White is "the most important artist of the millennium". 'Twas a bold statement, but it's hard to argue against it. What Jack White has done is brought some of the earliest 20th century popular music right up to date and given it to a new audience. The way he's done it - placing huge importance on vinyl, running his own record label, becoming an in-demand producer - is rather unique, and that's probably his secret. It's Jack's way and Jack's way only. And it works. Is Jack White a genius? Perhaps. This series hopefully illustrates that if he's not exactly a true musical genius, he's probably closer to it than 99.99% of other artists of his age.

To get you started, a little-known Jack White song that was actually his first true solo single. The song was written by White during the filming of 'It Might Get Loud', a documentary in which he features along with Jimmy Page and The Edge. White and director David Guggenheim had discussed how songs nowadays are often over-prepared and over-produced, so Jack wrote and recorded Fly Farm Blues in just ten minutes!

It's raw and simple, quintessentially Jack White, and proof that good music should just come naturally and needn't be overthought. This was Jack's first solo track since the White Stripes split, although he did put out the 'Quantum of Solace' Bond theme the year before with Alicia Keys. Typically of him, it's low-key and lo-fi, no gimmicks, no clever production tricks. It is what it is, and because of that I love it.

And here's a scene from 'It Might Get Loud' in which Jack shows a couple of amateur guitarists how he plays Seven Nation Army.


  1. I loved him for a while, all the way through to the Icky Thump album (which didn't do much for me at all tbh). Blunderbuss was ok but I got tired of it quickly. Not sure why. There was something primal about the White Stripes which he's moved on from and I don't find as interesting.

  2. I mean, what's left to say that I already haven't mentioned to this blog! The It Might Get Loud documentary was a funny one. I love all 3 musicians but Jimmy and the Edge seem to not give Jack the time of Day. The oldies seem to have a lot to say to each other
    but not to the young pretender. I think Jack came off looking the coolest through the doc. Take the opening scene of Jack making a guitar out of a piece of wood! How cool was that. Sounded better that most guitars I've ever heard!