The White Stripes made my summer 10,000 times better by releasing their sixth studio album, Icky Thump. Due to some real crappy…crap…I couldn’t get my hands on a copy until two weeks after its release, so I’m sorry if this review is a little stagnant. I’m like that guy who JUST saw Borat for the first time and is going around saying “what is up, vanilla face!?” to his obviously unamused coworkers. Or that person who still wears Napoleon Dynamite shoelaces from the Hot Topic.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Let me begin my review by stating that I really, strongly, disliked Get Behind Me Satan (the ‘Stripes 5th release, if you’re not in the know); I thought it was pretentious, draggy, and completely lacked any energy (wow, those words do NOT make it sound like a White Stripes album), so my expectations for Icky Thump were somewhere along the lines of, “MAN, THIS IS GOING TO SUCK.” This feeling was reaffirmed when I heard the eponymous single after it was leaked on the internet. The pseudo-rapped lyrics, the awful electronic-y synth break, the…ZZ Top quality that the song possesses made me feel like I was completely right in my convictions that The White Stripes had made a permanent home in the land of suck. But I was determined to get the album and give it a fair shot anyway.
And I’m so glad I did. This album completely saves the White Stripes! Its still got its draggy moments (“300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues”, “A Martyr For My Love For You”), and I have to admit, I couldn’t even listen to the songs that featured bagpipes (I Just hate bagpipes, though, that’s nothing the White Stripes did wrong), but the album is mostly composed of good, rocking songs. Now, it must be said that my favorite White Stripes album is their first one, the most bare bones minimalist guitar-and-drums-only of their releases, so the slicker, studio-produced feeling of their later albums, especially the last two, hasn’t really been all that pleasing to me, but that being said, I still really enjoyed a lot of the songs on this album. “Little Cream Soda” is great, even though it does lack any sort of flow lyrically. With “Rag and Bone”, Jack White continues to prove my theory that he has completely lost his mind, and “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” is one hell of a catchy song. “Effect and Cause” is fun, and reminds me strongly of the ‘Stripes Dolly Parton cover “Rated X”, while “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” is essentially a Brendan Benson song (maybe a little too much Raconteurs?), but I like Brendan Benson, so that’s cool by me.
But the best song on the album is, by far, “CONQUEST”. It’s a cover of an early 50’s song, which was only done once before the White Stripes decided to cover it. This song is fantastic, more fun than anything I’ve heard recently. Don’t buy the album for this song, but love the hell out of it once you get it.
All in all, I give Icky Thump a 7/10.