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Album Review: Jack White’s ‘Lazaretto’

Review by Michael Gutierrez.

Wow.

That’s my first thought after listening to Jack White’s newest album, Lazaretto. The album comes out and takes you on a musical journey you wouldn’t expect. But what else would you expect from White? This album is packed to the brim with a full and complete sound, and borderline crazy at points.

It’s hard to peg this album into one genre, as the style fluctuates wildly from song to song, but many of them seem to settle in to a nice folksy/bluesy vibe. The album comes out with a great tune invoking a classic rock style in “Three Women.” A marching rhythm section lead by a strong organ takes you straight back to the 70s and 80s brings a strong lead off to the album, before effortlessly flowing into “Lazaretto.” Rap style spoken lyrics, squealing guitars and a grooving hip-hop influenced beat give off a Rage Against the Machine feel, before mixing with a violin solo to close out the song and lead into a more folksy style.

“Temporary Ground” and “Just One Drink” have all the makings of fitting in a giant arena or in a bar in Nashville. The country influence shows through in these songs, with fiddling lines noodling there way through the songs, whether a slow lead part in “Temporary Ground” or a faster line moving in unison with the rest of music. “Would You Fight for My Love?” is like a combination of a gothic-stylings, a rock opera, and Muse. Its grandiose and epic, starting off with a heavy synth and falsetto vocals before busting out into the meat of the song. “I know that you want more/But would you fight for my love” and variations are crooned as a chorus, before being brought back in the outro.

The overall mood of the album seems for White to distance himself from earlier simple and open sounding works of The White Stripes and the more rock influenced The Raconteurs. But White’s guitar skill still shines through, most prominently on “High Ball Stepper.” Purely instrumental, it starts off with a catchy blues inspired riff that is the back bone through the song, and then White just proceeds to rip through the song with some gorgeous guitar work, riffing through the lower parts, and soaring high with a funk fuzzy solo.

If you enjoy White’s prior work, this is definitely an album to check out. Even if you don’t enjoy his music, you should still give it a listen. Top to bottom, its a fantastic piece, all beautifully orchestrated and arranged by the musical brilliance of Jack White. (And if you enjoy good vinyl, definitely look into this. It’s a kooky one.)

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