The White Stripes “Icky Thump” (2007)

November 2, 2011

Now, this is my favourite album by The White Stripes. It has the harshness of Elephant but is also lovely in its oddness. The cover image showing Jack and Meg as Pearly King and Queen and the title (the correct spelling is “ecky thump” though) suggest this might be their “English” album. Indeed, you’ve got bagpipes on two songs (including Meg’s St. Andrew) but the opening Icky Thump deals with the immigration policy in the US: White Americans / What? Nothin’ better to do? / Why don’t you kick yourself out / You’re an immigrant too / Who’s using who? / What should we do? / Well you can’t be a pimp / And a prostitute too. It’s very aggressive, musically as well. And damn great. The very next song changes the mood drastically. You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told) is a garage love ballad and maybe the finest track of The White Stripes’ sixth album. It’s not necessarily quiet. Conquest is the only cover but its level is as high as of almost everything here. Fans of old Jack and Meg will go delirious with joy about Little Cream SodaIcky Thump successfully blends influences and broadens the band’s palette. If only we could get their next album.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Conquest, Icky Thump, Little Cream Soda, St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air), You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)

Watch You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told):


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