Album Review: The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan

From time to time, I like to switch out my music on my iPhone entirely to prevent myself from getting sick of my favorite bands. Doing that this week, I had the urge to listen to something different, something indie and experimental. This sudden change in taste has given me inspiration to write a review that’s different from most of my prior posts. During this temporary change in music, I have fallen back in love with one particular band, being The White Stripes.

Residing in Detroit, The White Stripes was a collaboration between multi-instrumentalists Jack White and Meg White. For many years, they have made several albums and sold millions of copies worldwide. Their style is a great mixture of indie rock, blues rock, alternative rock, and garage rock. I can best describe their work as a modern-day, indie version of Led Zeppelin due to their garage-like sound and bluesy vocals. Since listening to their work, one album has stood out in particular: “Get Behind Me Satan.”

Unlike their prior albums, “Get Behind Me Satan” can be considered as one of their softest albums in their discography. Even with incorporating that tradition White Stripes sound, this album is much more experimental, stripped down, rhythmic, and piano-driven. Songs like “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)” and “White Moon” almost entirely remove the guitar from the picture, as the piano becomes Jack White’s rhythm. Also, the song “The Nurse” uses the marimba, similar to a xylophone, creating a completely unique sound from modern rock. This change in musical direction was very surprising to me when I first listened to this album, since their prior albums are so influenced by that punk and garage style of rock. Despite this change, it is very refreshing, and shows the talent behind both White’s, their ability to expand their sound and completely excel in it.

The White Stripes In Concert
Photo by CBS Local

This album may be different than their prior albums, but “Get Behind Me Satan” does provide a few songs of bluesy goodness. “Red Rain” and “Instinct Blues” show Jack White’s guitar abilities. His power and charisma is easily heard with each strum of a chord and each solo note. This classic sound is reminiscent of other great bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Who. Having seen him live once as The Dead Weather, that emotion that he brings live on stage is heard in his recorded albums, a feat that most musicians do not obtain. If Jack White ever comes to a city near you, I definitely recommend seeing him just for his on-stage personality.

My favorite songs on this album are “Take, Take, Take” and “As Ugly As I Seem” simply because they are not typical of their previous albums. As I said earlier, this change of pace is refreshing, and leaves me thinking I’ve shared a more intimate and personal listening experience than with their other albums. I believe the song “Take, Take, Take” is a reference to those who lie to themselves about what they need, only to end up tormenting others for their own self-satisfaction. The lyrics are actually quite funny, since they revolve around the experience of running into a celebrity. The lyrics for “As Ugly As I Seem” on the other hand are much more personal, and I believe reflect on the differences between how we see ourselves in childhood compared to how we see ourselves all grown up. (Sound off below if you have another interpretation of these songs!) Nonetheless, the album’s lyrics are catchy, thought-provoking, and personal.

I’m sure most people have heard of The White Stripes, and probably even this album, considering it is a Grammy Award winning album. Nevertheless, it’s unique, it’s interesting, and really catchy. I highly recommend this band to those who love indie rock, but also to those who like blues rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Wolfmother. Since the band is currently no longer together, you can support The White Stripes by listening to their music on iTunes or Youtube.

thewhitestripesgetbehindPurchase “Get Behind Me Satan” by The White Stripes by clicking the album cover above!

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