Album Review: Jack White Goes All Out With “Lazaretto”

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This month saw the release of Jack White’s second studio album, Lazaretto, a follow up to 2012’s Blunderbuss. 

The album kicks off with a delightedly old school blues tune via “Three Women”, originally by Blind Willie McTell. In recent years, Jack White has repeatedly proclaimed his dislike for attachment after all the heartaches in his life, perfectly exemplified by the song’s lyrics: “I got three women, red, blonde, and brunette”, with a memorable and over the top chorus: “Lordy-lord! ”

The title track “Lazaretto” is probably the heaviest tune on the album, and is unlike anything White’s ever done before. Its driven by a hip-hop beat and a Tom Morello-esque guitar riff.  “Temporary Ground” slows things down with a country-esque duet between White and singer Ruby Amanfu.

“Will You Fight For My Love” is a theatrical showcase of White’s guitar playing and epic lyrics about attachment: I’m afraid of being hurt that’s true, But not afraid of any physical pain, Just as I am always scared of water, but not afraid of standing out in the rain.” The Zeppelinesque instrumental “High Ball Stepper” follows, which is bound to be a new Jack White live staple. “Just One Drink” continues the theme of one-sided relationships: “You drink water, I drink gasoline.”

After “Alone In My House” and “Entitlement” slow things down to an acoustic crawl, while “Black Licorice” provides a crunchy, upbeat rocker, “I Think I Found The Culprit” becomes the highlight of the album, featuring lyrics that seemingly bash society’s tendency to pin domestic disputes on men: “Birds of a feather may lay together, but the uglier one is always under the gun.” White channels pure anger, sadness, and regret into his vocals, making it one of his strongest songs ever.

With virtually no filler, strong melodies and a straight up, non-pretentious rock and roll attitude, Lazaretto is easily the year’s best release thus far.

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  • jackkyjackjack

    Woah no mention of that black bat licorice?

  • PatimusFuckimusPrime

    I am inclined to agree; this is easily album of the year thus far. Also, I’m glad to have finally found a review where ‘Would You Fight For My Love’ receives praise. The whole album is excellent, but that song is nothing short of fantastic. The arrangement is very theatrical and engaging, the lyrics heart-wrenching, and his vocals skyrocket it to new heights. Easily amongst my favorite songs by him, in any incarnation. My tops would be: ‘Would You Fight For My Love?,’ ‘I Think I Found The Culprit,’ ‘Black Bat Licorice,’ ‘Temporary Ground,’ and ‘Just One Drink.’

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