‘Get Behind Me Satan’ by The White Stripes

Luca Kinsky
September 22, 2005

When one considers the musical landscape that The White Stripes have jumped into, you’ve got to give them credit for doing so damn well. After five albums, they sound as fresh as ever. Offering new guitar pleasures and witty lyrics to the common folk. This recording again shows the natural talent and creativity that Jack White has, which might ultimately transform him into a solo artist of great prestige. The fifth album from the Detroit favourites, “Get Behind Me Satan”, finds stage siblings Jack and Meg White jerking the reins and steering The White Stripes into virgin territory. Gone is the maximal 70’s rock sound that powered “Elephant”, cuts like "Seven Nation Army", replaced by a new emphasis on piano, acoustic guitar, and on numbers like "My Doorbell" and "Blue Orchid", the creeping and very welcome influence of Stax soul, classic R&B and disco. Which isn’t to say the Stripes have left behind their desire for the sort of impulsive, raw garage-rock that defined earlier albums like De Stijl: "Instinct Blues", in particular, will hit you like a shot of old Bourbon. It’s just that by this stage in the Stripes’ career, they’re most interesting when they’re making music that sounds like nothing or no-one else. Listen out, then, for "The Nurse” a minimal wisp of marimba, piano and seed-shaker interrupted by spasmodic, brutal guitar drums crashes or the dainty, Meg-sung "Passive Manipulation", which further muddies the waters of this most complicated of relationships: "Women, listen to your mothers," sings Meg, with an endearing falter, "Don’t just succumb to the wishes of your brothers". All of which adds up to another bemusing, but brilliant album from the White Stripes.

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