Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Genius Of… Jack White #3

#3: You’re Pretty Good Looking

The first real sign that the White Stripes could make pop music. Their self-titled debut album really adhered to the DIY garage-rock ethic. It was never going to receive much in the way of airplay or cross over into the mainstream. Not that there was ever any real intention to do so, mind. So it was a bit of a surprise to encounter the opening track of the band’s sophomore record ‘De Stijl’.

You’re Pretty Good Looking on the surface of it sounds like a deliberate attempt at a hit single, but I think we all know Jack White too well to actually believe that. There’s no doubting its pop credentials though: catchy tune, simple lyrics, nothing contentious or offensive – it ticked all the boxes really. Perhaps only the trademark White Stripes sound – stripped down instrumentation and lo-fi production – stood in its way, along with it being released on a small local record label.

Naturally John Peel played it and slowly the White Stripes began to work their way into the hearts of the music-loving world, but for a while this song, both on single and album, was only available in the States (and even then mainly in the Detroit area only) or as an import, which means it wasn’t known further afield for another 12-18 months, by which time we were already becoming well aware of who the White Stripes were and what we could expect from them.

You’re Pretty Good Looking remains one of their poppiest moments and was a fave in the live set for some time. It illustrated a sense of fun at the heart of the band and that was to serve them well over the next few years which would see them enjoy success beyond anyone’s expectations, least of all their own!

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard the Trendy American remix before. Ta very much.