Monday, October 23, 2006

The Raconteurs-Broken Boy Soldiers

So I guess it’s cool to bash Jack White now, just like it’s cool to come across as nothing more than a N.M.E. writer; build a band up (read: hype) and then revel in the glory of knockin’ ‘em back down to the hardwood floors they slept on when they were young ‘n hungry.
No matter what anyone does or says to try to convince me otherwise, I’ll be a Jack White fanboy if only for the fact that the fella does his homework and executes what he’s absorbed in a completely credible and believable fashion.
Take his recent work with The Raconteurs as an example: their debut Broken Boy Soldiers is a hastily developed “supergroup” that’s firmly (at least for now) entrenched in an era of rock that spawned hastily developed superrock. If you’re scratching your head at the idea of what “superrock” is, then you’re spending way too much time on it; put down your dictionary, learn a few chords, and write a song, motherfucker.
‘Cause it seems that what White and Brendan Benson have done with Broken Boy Soldiers, which may be one of the year’s best albums because it doesn’t pretend to be one of the year’s best albums.
It recalls a period of rock where bands started testing the limits of their sonic delivery without understanding that, just a year or two prior to this, they learned the chord progression of “Louie Louie.” And I, for one, love it when a band with serious limitations on their music ability pretends that they don’t have any limitations on their music ability.

The thing is, Jack White is extremely talented at two things: writing lyrics and playing the electric guitar. But he’s also extremely talented at music appreciation. So he let’s his buddy Brandon handle half of the songwriting credits and merely adds a ton of clever guitar licks and a bunch of bitchin’ abandon. It’s a fun record, to the point where you can overlook such retarded prose like “I’ve got a rabbit, it likes to hop/I’ve got a girl, and she likes to shop” (“Intimate Secretary”).
So yeah, White doesn’t have to try very hard to shine throughout this thing, but you’ve got to appreciate the fact that he keeps trying to hide behind a big electric guitar to avoid the spotlight.
Best of all, the album cuts away at any of the pretension that Get Behind Me Satan may have had on some fans by clocking in at barely over a half hour and by barely hiding the fact that a lot of time and effort weren’t spent on worrying about what you or I think of Broken Boy Soldiers. Instead, a lot of time and effort was spent in simply having a good time making rock and roll. Which, of course, is exactly what a lot of bands need to start doing in the first place.

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