“I want love to walk right up and bite me/ Grab a hold of me and fight me/ Leave me dying on the ground,” sings Jack White on his new single “Love Interruption.”
Unfortunately, this cut-throat aggression is not characteristic of the rest of his first solo album, “Blunderbuss,” released Tuesday.
Rather than deliver on the hype that his album has generated from critics and fans, White instead gives little haunting teases of what he has spinning in his mind.
After reaching a rock-god status from his adventures with the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, White seems to slow his stride and dabble more in the area of traditional American rock and blues.
The first track on the album, “Missing Pieces,” has the shrieks and slides from the guitar that has become as synonymous with White as his ghostly complexion and dark hair.
Although the song is similar to much of what was done with The White Stripes, the use of piano adds an element of freshness.
In fact, the first three songs are anything but new, and instead show a sense of nostalgia for the tunes that were once cranked out alongside Meg White.
However, this does not last long as heard on “Love Interruption.”
The first single alludes most distinctly to where the rest of the album is headed. White uses vivid imagery of a brutal love that matches the voices and thick strums of the guitar.
Ruby Amanfu accompanies White on this track, and throughout the album, to bring more soul that has been thrashed and bruised.
Following this is “Blunderbuss,” a song of tasty poetry and country vibes: “And demons in your pocket/ That same romance/ Performed a dance/ Inside a silver locket.”
Use of the acoustic guitar and pedal steel plainly point to Nashville’s influence on White. The rhythm perfectly plays with the words, creating a track that will confound and intrigue the listener.
“Weep Themselves to Sleep” is truly the underrated art on the album.
Like the pictures of birds used for the cover art, this song is the white peacock that stands apart from the rest of the flock. White creates a song that is sharper than talons and more beautiful than jewel-toned feathers.
“The tame can’t shake the reins/ Of demonizing brains that mean to kill them,” is the kind of line that White spits out with a quiet intensity.
The lyrics throughout the album could even be separated from the music and stand as a book of poems.
The only song on the album not written by White is “I’m Shakin’.”
Originally written by Rudy Toombs, and made popular by Little Willie John, White incorporates claps and background vocals with the sickest electric guitar riffs heard on the entire album.
The song seems disjointed from the rest but, like everything else from White, it oddly fits.
Sounds not typically heard from White, such as the mandolin, heavy use of the piano and back-up vocals makes the album a comfortable addition to the artists’ commendable library.
It may not be wholly spectacular, but the gems the album does have leave the listener with enough satisfaction to patiently wait for more.
Amanda Nieto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.