The White Stripes - 'Elephant'
Artist: The White Stripes
Genre: Garage, Punk Blues, Alt Rock
Total length: 50 minutes, 14 tracks
Jack White: Guitar, Vocals
Meg White: Drums, Vocals (Track 5)
One of the most impressive aspects of this album in my opinion is the fact that despite the heavy use of distortion the sound quality is usually not compromised (except for Ball and Biscuit and Black Math). Far too often when heavily distorted guitars are used the sound signature takes on a harsh or piercing character, but in this case the sound signature is very warm. Additionally too much distortion can make the stereo image die.
The album starts with a very famous bass line on the track 'Seven Nation Army'. This is the most engaging track on the entire album, and provides a very nice contrast to the slower tracks on the album. It's almost impossible not to bob your head to the beat when you hear this track. Additionally some of the guitar parts are in one word 'awesome'. I can't say I find the lyrics very impressive on the other hand.
Unfortunately not all tracks are as interesting as Seven Nation Army. The track 'Black Math' for example left me quite bored. The sonic imaging is lost in a sea of too much distortion, and the vocals are annoying too. Overall I'm not such a big fan of tracks like this and I find that it feels like a filler compared to some of the other tracks on this album.
A nice contrast to the quicker paced tracks is the almost lullaby-like 'In the Cold, Cold Night'. On this track Meg does the vocals, and in comparison to Jack's voice hers is much softer. This track does not have any drums, and as a result the track does not engage the listener as much. I personally really like this track, as it shows a very different side of the duo's capabilities.
Another track with a similar feel is 'You've Got Her in Your Pocket'. However that track didn't really impress me as much as 'In the Cold, Cold Night'.
A track that also really stood out to me on this album is 'Little Acorns'. It starts out with a somewhat humorous speech, but then suddenly the duo comes in with an extremely impactive part. Just like 'Seven Nation Army' I can only describe this track with the word 'awesome'. One thing that I didn't like however is the dynamic compression on this track. It would have been much more awesome with a higher dynamic range. This is an excellent example of how the loudness war has raped fine music.
Overall I found this album to be very enjoyable to listen to, especially due to the nice contrast between some of the most impactive tracks I've ever heard and the softer parts. If it weren't for the sometimes over use of distortion and dynamic compression I would have definitely given it a 9/10.