Vinyl Vlog 266

Vinyl Vlog 266

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017
COLUMN

White Stripes

Elephant

Photo: turntablelab.com

 

The White Stripes’ elephant is an important album both for me personally and in the wider scope of musical history as it gives good perspective on what was going on with music at the time.  For me personally it conjures up memories of driving through the redwoods for the first time, wondering how exactly Meg White manages to hit her drums so hard. It was also the first song we learnt as a band that Summer in my garage, much to the annoyance of our neighbors.

 

As far as its historical significance, Elephant came hot off the heels of the White Stripes’ previous album White Blood Cells which helped cement that, at least for the time being, garage rock was going to reign supreme. Like the Strokes and the Hives, the raw guitar-heavy sounds of the White Stripes were inescapable on the radio, but unlike those bands, the White Stripes managed to make lightning strike twice with Elephant. Its sound was so familiar and simplistic yet so very different. It was raw and pulsing like its predecessor, but a little more accessible. At the same time it was weird as hell, and most importantly, made the audience accept the concept of music that was “weird as hell.” Were the White Stripes a serious band, or were they joking around? The styles within elephant are all over the place, and could make you realize there might be a unifying theory to all of music, all distilled on two instruments, and these two weirdos.

 

And the fact that the songs on Elephant would permanently embed themselves in our musical consciousness is easy to argue. Can anyone not recognize the “bass” line in 7 Nation Army? Didn’t we all learn that it was grammatically correct to say that you “button a button”?

 

An album this cool can only be collected on vinyl and Jack White’s Third Man has done us the great favor of keeping it in press for us. There have been many iterations of the vinyl, and I read a story once that the UK pressing had sleeves made of paper made of elephant dung. Something like that… Probably none of that here, but as always, this (and all Third Man releases) just teems with quality: a beautiful gatefold, double 180g vinyl, printed inner sleeves, and download coupon. Like all White Stripes albums, it’s deceptively simple.

 

This one is essential.

 

Get it from Third Man.

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