by Brian Smith
Record of the year.
Okay, it’s like 11 a.m. on Wednesday and the new issue of Metro Times is out. Already I’m fielding emails and calls about Nate Cavalieri’s review of the White Stripes Icky Thump. Some say Cavalieri nailed it, perfectly. Others say the dude couldn’t find his own ass, much less a good song. (You’ll note that this guy Nate – a former MT listings editor, longtime contributor and a star national writer — always knows what he’s talking about, calls it like he sees it, and whether or not you agree is something else entirely.)
Whatever. The new White Stripes record landed yesterday and god bless that band. Forget that Sir Jack White talks shit about Detroit (isn’t that too easy?) at every turn — he lifts the scummy state of Motor City-hatred to grade-A thug levels — that’s all subjective yak-yak-yak based on titled observations. (Isn't hometown resentment/backstabbing part of the gig when one signs on as International Bright Young Thing?)
In an age when pop music is but a dismal hum of cultural white noise that saturates our every waking movement with no discernable purpose other than to pimp some ware, the White Stripes are provoking debate and dialog about rock ’n’ roll again, about our culture. That’s one reason why the White Stripes are so remarkable — some things are bigger than chords and melody. And the banter is rather pure; heated and often passionate. When was the last time a rock ’n’ roll record did that, eh? When was the last time a rock record could actually resonate in our times? Jack White’s fragrance is seeping in everywhere too, and he’s got good, smart things to say. He’s writer gold and a PR flack’s nightmare because he says what he believes. And that’s the work of a good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll star.
Sometimes I listen to Icky Thump and think it’s the worst pile of derivative dung I’ve heard in years. Other times I think it’s fucking brilliant, that it ought to own the world. When the single comes on the radio(?!) after shit like System of a Down, it's your duty as a fan of music and a member of the oppressed masses to offer up a toast! It took Jack White to get that bare, honest, hear-every-note sound on the airwaves, into people's cars and homes. Love the band, loathe ’em, what-the-fuck-ever, Icky Thump should be record of the year. Why? ’Cause people are moved.
Should you feel the need to comment on Cavalieri’s Icky Thump review, feel free to do so in the comment section of this post. We actually give a shit about what you think.