“My veins are blue and connected and every single bone in my brain is electric”
Anyone who knows Jack White’s work knows that it is bound to be weird. WEIRD. Unapologetically, unquestionably weird.
And with his new single, Mr. White has not deviated from his modus operandi.
White released “Lazaretto” on April 21. The eponymous song is the second single released from his upcoming album of the same name (Side note: I had no idea what Lazaretto meant, so I looked it up. It was the first quarantine hospital ever built in the United States. And, it was right in our backyard, just south of Philadelphia. The hospital was built in reaction to the Yellow Fever Epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793, killing 10% of the city’s population).
“They want to blow down the prison, They’re lighting fires with the cash of the masses”
The song itself is really good, with a hard-driving bass and the usual Jack White nonsense lyrics (I’m pretty sure he slips into Spanish somewhere in the first verse). As usual, White’s song centers around pain and torture, with a heavy blues influence.
White’s other single is called “High Ball Stepper.” It is good, but nothing special. An instrumental piece, it features (of course) Jack White’s guitar skills, but not much else. The video is (surprise!) strange. It primarily displays speakers vibrating heavily, throwing all sorts of things (paint, sugar, mystery goo, etc.) into the air. The song is certainly entertaining, but the lack of lyrics really limits its overall appeal. That said, White’s pure musicianship is amazingly good; I can’t think of a superior guitarist peer, barring old stalwarts like Angus Young of AC/DC or Eddie van Halen.
“They threw me down in the Lazaretto, born rotten, bored rotten, making models of people I used to know, out of coffee and cotton”
These two songs are, hopefully, just tastes of what will come. White’s album will be released June 9, and features the two singles along with nine other songs (One is called “That Black Bat Licorice.” There’s no way that song won’t be awesome.) White’s music is never widely appealing enough to become wildly popular; however, his debut solo album, Blunderbuss, is critically acclaimed and sold well, and rightfully so. Blunderbuss is nearly perfect. There is not a single song that is not, at some level, epically good. It is sharp, slick, and musically brilliant. The lyrics are on point, and the musicianship is… well, it’s Jack White. It’s exactly what you would expect. Hopefully, his sophomore album lives up to the lofty standard set by Blunderbuss. The first two singles from Lazaretto certainly have proved that White still has the charm and intelligence that make his other work so enjoyable.