Throughout the duo’s reign in the early Aughts indie rock revival scene, Jack White, along with his then by then ex wife continued their band and over the course of roughly 15 years, made an impact few others did in the genre, unless you’re the Strokes. Regardless, today we’re jumping into a sorta on the fly entry. I hope you enjoy it.
10 IN THE COLD COLD NIGHT: ELEPHANT
When this track dropped, audiences, myself included, found themselves enraptured in the slow strength of Meg's voice reverberating over the singular guitar. Its a sexy track, very accessible, and it gave Meg a platform to be more than just a drummer. At number ten, “in the cold Cold Night welcomes us to the world of Megs' lovely, raspy voice, and a rarely mentioned gem in the Stripes catalog.
9 THE BIG THREE KILLED MY BABY: DE STIJL
Since first hearing this rocker, I’ve always found it to be more in vein with 70’s stoner rock than the genre tey found themselves in. The drums are epic, boisterous even, but the guitar riff is oozing with black Sabbath heaviness, and the vocals are forced and angry, which lends itself perfectly to the anger simmering during this killer track. After all, they should be angry, they found out their baby is dead.
8 THE HARDEST BUTTON TO BUTTON: ELEPHANT
A video that's more remembered than the song, but listening to the track again reminds me that the song is where it all started. By this point, the Stripes were the biggest band in indie rock, and arena’s came calling, “Hardest Button to Button” is a perfect compliment to the newly enlarged venue sizes, it fills a large room with unattainable energy, especially when the chorus hits. Its sing structure isn’t as unique as their earlier works, but the energy, the drums and the electric guitar all make this an important inclusion in this list.
7 FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL: WHITE BLOOD CELLS
Many songs stand out over time, and for me this is one of the most vivid reminders of where I was when I first came into touch with this kick ass Detroit duo. Nearly immediately after hearing the pulsing energy of “Fell in Love with a Girl” the album was purchased and filled my house with electric jams that were unique and familiar all at the same time. Even after all these years, I still get pumped when “Aluminum” rips apart with reckless abandon,
6 HOTEL YORBA: WHITE BLOOD CELLS
For a band known for being on the rock spectrum, few songs swing to country tinges as easily as “Hotel Yoruba.” It has gentle, albeit upbeat guitar and drum patterns, but the lyrical content fills the listeners heart with a swaying relaxing sense of comfort. When White yells “Let’s Get Married,” you feel the love radiating from his senses and brain, and it makes the song that much more sentimental for me.
5 A MARTYR FOR MY LOVE FOR YOU: ICKY THUMP
One of the saddest songs on this countdown , “Martyr” captures all the hardships of a relationship failing. The lyrical sections of the song, sung softly at first touch on the complexities of this failed love, while as the song progresses the turmoil in the singers heart comes to the surface, with grave warnings of future actions being spread through the song. As a person prone to outbursts and being mentally unstable, I feel the urge to leave people alone, for fear of overdoing this. This theme permeates the song, and leaves the listener reeling with emotion.
4 THIS PROTECTOR: WHITE BLOOD CELLS
All these years later and I still don’t really know what this song is about. I do know I miss the piano being used by this band, but oh well. It’s a simple song, but with simple examining you find the track to be a call to arms to protect your world, or at least that’s how I see it. It’s under three minutes, but that’s all it needs to be memorable.
3 DEAD LEAVES AND THE DIRTY GROUND: WHITE BLOOD CELLS
And finally we get to the raucous beginnings of the band's mighty reign. This didn’t the first song the band ever released, but for many it was the first time they heard the album and song. It’s psychedelically heavy at the forefront, yet it manages to veer into garage rock heaven immediately after that. It’s one of the bands best known songs, and in general is just a top tier song. For these reasons it lands at number three on our White Stripes countdown.
2 WE’RE GOING TO BE FRIENDS: WHITE BLOOD CELLS
One of the coolest images from any White Stripes video is the entirety of this video. Jack softly plays guitar and regaling us with the memorable days of school as an adolescent, while Meg peacefully sleeps on the couch next to him. Beyond that though, the song is simple and beautiful in the way many of their songs tend to be, but there’s a gorgeous naivety to it that profoundly displays what it’s like in the simpler years of your life where the only thing you want to do is explore the world with your new favorite person in the world, who you just happened to meet that same day.
1 SEVEN NATION ARMY: ELEPHANT
I still remember the moment my old friend and I first listened to this record. Of course, the now classic “Seven Nation Army” had already been blowing up the FM frequencies, but it’s the powerful opening this track gives to the album that truly makes “Elephant” even better. With Meg on drums and principal songwriter Jack White laying down grooves and a blues infused guitar part, this song catapults the listener to a type of rock that becomes hugely popular and anthemic, even though that maybe wasn’t the intent. It’s still one of their best overall songs, and well these days, for better or worse, it’s used far and wide at sporting events. I can’t say for sure how the White Stripes feel about that, but I’m sure it garnered them more fans than they expected when they started out in a room in Detroit.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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