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The White Stripes 

Get Behind Me Satan (V2)

Wednesday, Jun 22 2005
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Why Jack and Meg chose "Blue Orchid" as the first single from their latest full-length is a bit of a mystery. The song is crammed with unexciting '70s guitar riffage and even less exciting falsetto vocals, devoid of any hooks whatsoever. Fortunately, we only have to sit through less than three minutes of that bland tomfoolery before the beauty of Get Behind Me Satan begins. Heavy on the shakers, pianos, and marimbas, the rest of the record is a colorful hodgepodge of classic rock crooners, '60s soul, and psychedelic folk, with surprises that lie behind every verse and chorus -- evil guitar stabs at odd intervals, sparse minor-key piano lines when you're expecting quiet and pretty. The title's mention of the prince of darkness is certainly apt here, as Jack's voice throughout sounds like he's just committed some primal sinning. Despite the different instrumentation, the record possesses the sonic fingerprints we've come to expect from the band: Meg's loud, sloppy drumming and Jack's bluesy phrasings. But the Stripes on Satan have grown beyond the strict confines of their decades-old influences, certainly not completely, but enough that they haven't simply made another White Blood Cells. Bravo for that.

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Abigail Clouseau

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