Jack White- Lazaretto

By Aminta Nieves-Candamo

Published on Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lazaretto is the second studio album by Jack White as a solo artist. Released through his own label Third Man Records in association with XL Recordings and Columbia Records. I know it’s a bit hard to wrap your head around it; this guy has been around and successfully relevant since The White Stripes put out their first album in 1999.

If you are one of those extremist fans, longing desperately for the moment when is Jack going to make music like he used to back in “the beginnings of the Stripes”, this might be the album you are looking for.

While Grammy Nominated and Platinum Certified debut album, 2012’s Blunderbuss, mostly inspired by his then recent divorce from model turned musician, Karen Elson, was full of that emotional aftermath, Lazaretto was partially inspired by a collection of short stories, poems and writings that White wrote when he was 19 years old and rediscovered in recent years in his attic.

In a recent interview he said “they weren’t very good but I was able to put out characters and things out of it, instead of throwing them away, I used them as inspiration, putting myself in the imaginary situation of how would i teach myself as a 19 year old, half my age now, how to write a song, if I had my older self to talk to me today.”

Lazaretto, the title track, was confirmed as the album’s first single on April 19th, when a live version of the song was recorded, pressed and released on the same day. By doing this in less than four hours. “Jack White Presents: World’s Fastest Record” broke the previous Guinness World Record set by Swiss polka trio Vollgas Kompanie, as part of the festivities held at Third Man Records headquarters for the internationally celebrated Record Store Day.

White explained the song’s meaning by saying “This was a rhyme, the bragging about oneself in hip-hop music. The character who’s singing this song is bragging about himself, but he’s actually bragging about real things he’s actually accomplished and real things that he actually does, not imaginary things or things he would like to do.”

The song “Three Women“, based on the 1928’s song “Three Women Blues” by Blind Willie McTell. JW narrates (without saying much to incriminate himself) about these three women he has in three different cities, but based on locations and hair color, he could be talking about his two ex wives.

Temporary Ground” a folky duet with fiddler Lillie Mae Rische, talks mainly about abstract dream-like ideas of freedom, or what sounds mostly like a bad trip. Not entirely sure what he’s trying to say in this song but the strings on this track are beyond beautiful.

My personal favorite, “Would You Fight For My Love?” you get to hear a Jack White actually calling it as it is and fighting back at that love interest that is breaking his heart, while in the end recognizing it as a lost cause and working on “getting better at becoming a ghost”.

The song “Just One Drink” premiered in May. In a true country fashion, Jack wrote a song about unrequited love that you can actually dance to. While the rest of the album sounds like a transitional emotional step forward for White, the track “Alone In My Home” tells us again about his need to become a ghost, take us a little deeper when he shares “And alone I build my own home to be sure that nobody can touch me now”.

“I can’t bring myself to take without penance or atonements or sweat from my brow. Though the world may be spoiled and getting worse every day, don’t they feel like they’re cheated somehow? I feel like I’ve been cheated somehow“ a bit dark the country-based track “Entitlement”. The appeal for solitary captivity that we found originally on the title track resurfaces again on “That Black Bat Licorice” . “Who is the who, telling who what to do?” on “Want And Able” entitlement and societal expectations are being characterized as the two are crossing a road over a bar piano and simple vocals.

Lazaretto debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 138,000 copies in its first week. For those who collect vinyls this is not one you might want to miss. The limited-edition “Ultra LP” on its own sold 40,000 copies on its pre-sale, which sets the record for the most vinyl sales in one week for an album, beating Pearl Jam’s “Vitalogy”.

But why you might ask? Check out all the cool shenanigans this ULTRA LP has:

 

The Lazaretto Tour will be around on September 14, 2014 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD.

Make sure to make a stop at the Third Man Records “Rolling Record Store” that will be making appearances in various festivals throughout this summer and most of Jack White’s performances.

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Verdict8.5

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