Elephant – The White Stripes

2003 – V2

Alternative/ Blues-Rock

The duo’s fourth studio album is a pounding, guitar-driven hit machine. From Seven Nation Army through to Well It’s True That We Love One Another this record just goes from excellently executed strength to strength. The riffs are catchy, the vocals are powerful, and the whole thing is just pretty much awesome.

The music itself it unashamedly retro-blues, but with a highly honed sense of modernity and the perfected low-fi recording gives the album a rich and warm sound.  I think, too, that Jack White’s voice has really come into its own on this record – he has come to terms with the fact that he sounds weird and he just lets that oddness flood the lyrics with feeling.

There are no forgettable songs here, it goes from your  favourite track to your next favourite track and then again until you realize that no one track could possibly be the best on it. The record flows very nicely too. From the grungy thrashing of There’s No Home For You Here to the nostalgic cover of Burt Bacharach’s I Just Don’t Know What To With Myself to the subtlety of In The Cold, Cold Night to the acoustic sweetness of I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart the whole thing just feels right.

Elephant is uncomplicated and catchy, but without any hint of selling-out. It’s just Jack and his guitar skills with Meg and her underrated drumming making a whole lot of catchy heart-warming noise. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, but that’s not to say that the record is throwaway. It engages the listener and beats them around the ears with well studied, yet spontaneous, hard-rock, but leaves out all the machismo and posturing that that usually brings.

It is a perfect album for pretty much any occasion. Put it on when you’re happy, put it on when you’re sad, put it on when you’re at a party, put it on when you’re doing the vacuuming – just put it on and enjoy it. It is, to my mind, one of the greatest records that has been produced in the first decades of the two-thousands, and is one which will hopefully stand the test of time and be looked back on fondly and be rediscovered and loved by many generations to come.

RATING: *****/5


This cover is one of the many brilliant tracks off 2003’s Elephant


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