Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Genius Of... Jack White #6

#6: Icky Thump by The White Stripes

The White Stripes sixth and sadly final album 'Icky Thump' was their most musically diverse and, depending on my mood, my favourite. It marked a return to the stripped-back garage rock sound of their earlier work, but also featured a range of styles. Its title track, for instance, was raw enough, but it was owed a lot more to heavy rock than the blues and folk of their early days; more Led Zeppelin than Leadbelly.

It also saw Jack White adopt a political stance, attacking American immigration policy. The band had largely steered clear of politics throughout their career, but this was obviously an issue Jack felt strongly enough about to not only tackle it on the album's opener, but make it the lead single as well.

Icky Thump wasn't the obvious track to lead the album, nor the one you would have said would be the band's biggest selling (it went platinum in the States), but it turned out to be an inspired choice. It became the White Stripes' biggest hit on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, it peaked at number 26, while in the UK it made number 2, held off the top slot by Rihanna's Umbrella! It was, to these ears at least, a great track reminiscent of their pre-superstardom years.

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