Jack White’s second solo album doesn’t dissapoint

Ashley Cooper, Eastside Community Editor

Originating from humble beginnings in 1997 Detroit, Jack White formed The White Stripes, with his ex-wife, Meg White. The White Stripes began as a band with little experience; Meg White, the sole drummer of the band, had no drumming education at all. Despite this large setback, the duo ultimately rose to international stardom in 2002, winning the Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Music Performance” for three consecutive albums (Elephant, Get Behind Me Satan and Icky Thump). While the band retired in 2011, the distinguishable and charming guitar line of the band’s mega-hit “Seven Nation Army,” can still be easily recognized today.

Although The White Stripes have long since been retired, Jack White continues his musical journey— instead, now as a solo artist. On April 25, 2012, White released his debut solo album, Blunderbuss, which received substantial critical acclaim. On June 10, 2014 the alternative rock veteran released his second solo album, entitled Lazaretto.

Lazaretto opens with “Three Women,” a song heavily infused with blues-rock resonances. White based the initial song of the album upon “Three Women Blues,” by Blind Willie McTell. White croons “Lordy Lord/ Lordy Lord” at the chorus of the song emphasizing the desperation and soulfulness, which is permeated with the blues genre.

The second track of the album, partakes the same name as the album itself. “Lazaretto” serves as the overall anthem of White’s new album, with its energetic, lively beat. During the title song, White displays his unique talent, through superb garage-rock vocals and brilliant guitar solos. With lyrics such as, “And every single bone in my brain is electric,” the song is undeniably a vivid and poetically written piece as well. A Lazaretto is an ancient word, used often in the 16th century to describe an institution for those with an infectious disease. White sings, “They put me down in the lazaretto, bored rotten, bored rotten,” crying out as a rock singer who misses the classic rock era, an age of true musical appreciation. Through these lyrics, White sings that he’d rather be imprisoned in a Lazaretto, than deal with his frustration surrounding the punishing digital world. With the innovative and enticing combination of the electric guitar and the fiddle, White has created a gem with “Lazaretto.”

“Temporary Ground,” the third song off of White’s sophomore album, is one of the few slower paced songs produced from the record. White sings of even the world itself existing as simply a figment of our imaginations, “Nothing but God is left to know/ And while he left us all here hanging/ With an illusion of a home,” showing White’s view of all things being temporary. The minor chords intertwined with the track are unnerving and eerie, yet hypnotizing, all at the same time. Featuring the vocal talents of Lillie Mae Rische, the song is dark and brooding, with lyrics such as “Moving without motion/ Screaming without sound.”

“Would You Fight For My Love,” begins with a strong drum solo followed by the use of electric piano and guitar. On the fourth song of Lazaretto, White passionately sings, “And I’ve hurt you before/But can you ignore/My love,” producing vocals reminiscent of famous rock anthems. With this song White takes many risks, following no real patterns throughout the music. “Would you fight for my love,” twists and turns down so many eclectic avenues, following the lead of the daring and bold world of the rock genre.

The fifth track of Lazaretto, “High Ball Stepper,” is of a psychedelic-rock sound, similar to that of Jimi Hendrix. The entire song is instrumental, displaying White’s love of genuine rock and roll music. The song additionally once-again portrays White’s refreshing knack for originality in a world so revolved around uniformity.

“Just One Drink,” the sixth track of White’s sophomore album, gains inspiration from a country-rock sound. Lyrics like, “You drink water/I drink gasoline/One of us is happy/One of us is mean,” are so simplistic, yet bring so much meaning to the song.

“Alone In My Home,” offers a softer, acoustic sound into White’s album. The seventh song of the album is peppy, but also silky and smooth with its beautiful use of piano. In this song White sings lead vocals, plays the guitar, maracas and a shaker; to be so varyingly talented is a pretty amazing feat.

On the eighth track of Lazaretto, “Entitlement,” White uses a slide guitar and country influenced vocals. While White sings with an easy-going, carefree tone, the words that he sings are heavy and jarring. To end the song, White reflectively sings, “I guess nobody on Earth is entitled/ Not mothers, not children, not kings/ Not a single person on God’s golden shore/ Is entitled to one single thing.”

“That Black Bat Licorice,” is one of White’s songs where he shows how he can infuse pure rock and roll with other genres seamlessly. The ninth song of White’s album, is full of percussion and electric guitar, but also includes traditional violin. In true rock and roll fashion, White introduces the violin rapping, “That Black Bat Licorice/ I never liked it/ I never will/ Now state the same damn thing with the violin.”

“I Think I Found The Culprit,” the tenth track off of Lazaretto travels listeners to an old Western Rodeo. With lyrics like, “Birds of a feather may lay together/But the uglier one is always under the gun,” White chants the bitter and brutal truth.

“Want and Able,” is the final song of White’s sophomore album. In my opinion, it is an excellent way for White to end his LP. The song talks about societies expectations and how we are all expected to conform to social norms. On a final note, White sings, “Now, Want and Able are two different things/One is desire, and the other is the means,” as a perfect embodiment of the lyrical and poetic songwriting-style of White.

White’s Lazaretto, is a stellar display of musical artistry. Ranked as 70 on the Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists,” White has certainly impacted the world of music since his musical debut, which unbelievably only occurred 17 years ago. Remarkably, as a contemporary musician, White has reached the status of a legend.