Inspired by a series of poems and stories written at the age of 19, Jack White’s latest album, Lazaretto was released on June 10th by White’s own label, Third Man Records. Lazaretto is intended to be an album of singles, as opposed to a traditional cohesive album. Upbeat, sometimes campy, and totally weird, Lazaretto brings a mix of blues, rock and country together. Lazaretto debuted at #1 on many music charts and White has sold out shows many large scale venues at near record pace.
In the opening track of Lazaretto, White sings about the trials and troubles of having more than one love interest with “Three Women.” The first single of Lazaretto is the title track. “Lazaretto” features plenty of distorted guitar paired with White’s lyrical Spanglish. “Lazaretto” is polished but still has moments where it feels like it’s trying to break into that straight-out-of -the-garage-rock feel. The clear highlight of “Temporary Ground” is the backing vocals of Ruby Amanfu. When Amanfu starts to sing, you forget that this technically White’s song.
The second single, “Highball Stepper” is heavy, dense and wild. Screeching guitar distortion is the main focus of the song, filling in as the chorus in the instrumental only song. “Highball Stepper” proves that there is room for instrumental tracks in mainstream rock. The song is so filling that adding vocals would have just created oversaturation in the song. “Just One Drink” is plenty cheesy, but this song packed with opposites gets you moving. Not only do the lyrics undulate in opposites but the tempo does as well, going from fast tempo guitar riffs to slow rolling piano solos. The piano carnival that is Lazaretto continues with “Alone In My Home.”
White is well known for his criticism of the music industry and media outlets, “Entitlement” lets White speak his mind in a poetic manner. This song channels a major classic country tone, which may be disappointing for fans of pure blues rock. Those fans that may be disappointed with “Entitlement” can be brought back to the album with “Black Bat Licorice.” The nonsensical track is a wild guitar ride that embodies a classic blues rock vibe. “I Think I Found The Culprit” sounds like it could have come off of any White Stripes album versus White’s solo career.
Lazaretto is far from pure blues rock, but it channels enough of White’s respect to many of the legends to still appeal to fans. Lazaretto definitely shows Nashville’s influence on White through many fiddle-filled songs. Lazaretto is a great album, but might be more suited for fans of Loretta Lynn and other country legends, than those looking for the blues.
The Review: 7/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Temporary Ground
– Black Bat Licorice
– High Ball Stepper
The Big Hit
– High Ball Stepper
Review by Alysha Rendflesh