Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” is solid yet forgettable

By Stephen Margelony-Lajoie


Jack White’s debut solo album, the rock-n-roll heavy “Blunderbuss,” hits shelves April 24 with high expectations after his fantastic performance on Saturday Night Live last month. However, the album sees White setting the bar a little too high for himself, because it’s nothing like the firearm it’s named after; the album lacks any firepower and it definitely fails to move in for the kill.

The album is not bad by any means – it’s just all too formulaic. The sick guitar solo that accompanied the silky-smooth bridge of the album’s opener, “Missing Pieces,” felt so natural and powerful, but that gnarly guitar solo becomes redundant when it’s featured on every track, albeit a slightly modified version. Think of each song as the musical version of someone’s morning routine: Wake up, brush teeth, shower, shave, guitar solo, repeat.

This boring consistency is almost outweighed by the gorgeous percussion that is the highlight of this drum-heavy record, from the sexiness the drums brought to the mysterious “I’m Shakin’” or the intense pianissimos that transition into booming fortes in the rap-inspired “Freedom at 21.” White’s musicianship really shows through during “Weep Themselves to Sleep,” where he is able to create a three-and-a-half minute battle royale between the powerful throbbing of percussion and the gentle yet overflowing emotions that the piano conjures.

The song that stands out the most is the raw, free-from overproduction duet that is “Love Interruption.” With lyrics such as “I want to murder my own mother and take her off to somewhere like Hell or up above,” there’s no doubt this song is an intense, almost psychotic experience. It’s nothing like the rest of the album, lacking that previously mentioned tired solo and bland, uninspired, more-bark-than-bite verses of the other songs. It begins with a simple acoustic guitar and doesn’t get much more complicated as it goes along. In contrast to the rest of the album, simple seems to be what White does best, and the placement of this song at the beginning of the album creates too much anticipation for what’s to come. Still, “Love Interruption” is the best of the bulk.

The record moves at the same speed throughout, galloping at a constant rate. Boys will be boys and rock will roll, but it’s all at such a consistent rhythmic pace as if it just wanted nothing but to rush to the final track. Jack White never takes the time to slow down and enjoy the creation process. Instead, he creates a string of songs that are hard to tell each other apart. There’s been worse, but this is the front man of The White Stripes we’re talking about here. This album is three out of five stars at the most when compared to his storied career. It’s a solid achievement for one’s first solo endeavor, but nothing about this album is particularly memorable. In fact, nothing about it even seems to try to be.

Stephen Margelony-Lajoie can be reached at [email protected]