Whatever happened to those White Stripes kids? They ever gonna come out with another song about Legos and what not? Oh, look here! It’s their new album, and it’s on vinyl, too. Oh, man, nothing is more fun than a double LP — unless it’s a double LP full of good music. And there’s hardly any of that to be found on Elephant. This is what happens when you make a record in the stream of commerce and when you rush the delicate songwriting process. After listening to Elephant, I couldn’t be less excited about the White Stripes as major label recording artists. Here’s a song-by-song breakdown as to why:
“Seven Nation Army”: This is the album’s second best song and they give it up on the first side of the first LP. The album’s first-best song kicks off the second side of the first LP, proving this album is ridiculously top-heavy. Jack White plays through an octave pedal to make his guitar sound like a bass. If you listen real close, though, there’s this annoying flangy kinda reverb thing that resonates from the guitar part. It may seem minor but it drives me up a wall. Meg White’s drum part is pretty fun, though.
“Black Math”: This song doesn’t offend me, but if it were on White Blood Cells it would be the worst song. Sort of fits in more with the self-titled album, actually.
“There’s No Home For You Here”: This song is pretty good, too, because it’s basically “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” — like, verbatim. Ripping yourself off this bad is lame no matter how you slice it.
“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”: This is the best song on the album and the only time where the White Stripes do something new (bass lines just don’t cut it) with their increasingly tiresome formula. This also the only song that really seems to have anything to do with the supposed “Death of the Sweetheart” theme.
“In the Cold, Cold Night”: I never want to hear Meg White sing again.
“I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother’s Heart”: This song’s lameness is pretty much explained in the title. Jack, I so don’t care about you wanting to win over some girl’s mom. This is like “We’re Going to Be Friends” minus all the charm. What’s left is … well … sort of fruity.
“You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket”: This is a pretty little acoustic number that didn’t offend me musically but is laughable lyrically.
“Ball and Biscuit”: This is seven of the suckiest minutes the White Stripes have ever produced. This is like the worst Led Zeppelin song ever written. Rolling Stone is totally tripping balls giving this album five stars.
“The Hardest Button to Button”: I like this song. Another hard rocker, but the lyrics about domestic unrest aren’t as retarded and are more enjoyable than a lot of what Jack sings on this album.
“Little Acorns”: Jack’s repetition of “Be like the squirrel, girl” was the nail in the coffin for this song. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the ridiculous sample of Mort Crim talking about breaking up your problems into little pieces like a squirrel.
“Hypnotize”: Hi, we’re the White Stripes. We start off basically every side with a good song to give the illusion of having put a non-shitty album. Did we fool you?
“The Air Near My Fingers”: The air near my fingers is the only thing between them and the power button on my stereo. This song is so forgettable that despite repeated listens I couldn’t tell you what it sounds like.
“Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine”: I don’t remember this one, either. This album has lost me completely.
“Well It’s True That We Love One Another”: This song sucked so much I should drop the rating a full point. This is not cute. Someone please get me a hammer so I can crack Jack White in the face with it.
I read an interview with Jack White in Time Out New York where he rambled on about how the band was based around the number three. Elephant hammers this home by highlighting every “three” in the inlay, as well as making the E’s upside down 3’s. But what Elephant really shows us is that while the White Stripes live by the number three, they die by it as well. White Blood Cells was their third record, and by the looks of it, the last one they’ll make that was worth anyone’s time. Yep, three indeed.