Heard the news? Jack White is coming out with a solo album. If first single "Love Interruption," is any indication, Blunderbuss will be loaded with fluttering woodwinds, electric piano, and White in full-tilt gospel mode. It's pretty good -- I mean, not quite as daring as that ICP collab -- but it makes me want to hear the rest of the album and see if White can grab a hold of the dude version of the Dusty in Memphis thing he seems to be angling for, but it feels like it's missing something. Some fundamental stomp, a primitive rhythm. It's missing...drums. Oh yeah. It's missing half of what made The White Stripes awesome.
I mostly like what White does; The Raconteurs have their moments, and his production for Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson, and John C. Reilly (for real) has been great. But he wasn't just talking musical mumbo jumbo when he said [of her drumming] "That is my strength. A lot of drummers would feel weird about being that simplistic."
Meg was more than Jack's foil (though the duo's scene in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes proved she was perfect in that role). She was the swing, the element that made the whole thing feel unpredictable, able to fall apart at any second. The element that made the White Stripes click.
So how about a Meg White solo LP?
Meg's vocals were rarely front and center with the Stripes, but tunes like "In the Cold, Cold Night" rank among the band's best. And Meg fronted some of the weirdest moments in the band's catalog, too, like "St. Andrew (The Battle is in the Air)," from the band's swan song, Icky Thump (2007), and "Who's a Big Baby," from the same sessions. Both find her voice heavily treated, but the effects are a far cry from the auto-tuned sheen abounding in the pop music field.
Sure, Meg's guitar chops aren't anything to write home about -- neither was her drumming, on a technical level -- but what does that matter? You know her Rolodex is stocked with some cool folks she could call in for an album. Folks like her mother-in-law, Patti Smith, the Raconteur guys, The Detroit Cobras, Jack (I like to imagine they are still on good terms) and more.
Of course, there's the fact that it might have been Meg's acute anxiety that ended the Stripes (those sex tape rumors couldn't have helped). Maybe she doesn't want to make a record. But it would rule. Jack's got one of the coolest things going with his Third Man Records label (Jeff the Brotherhood, Dungen, Nobunny, First Aid Kit, Conan O'Brien, Wanda Jackson -- do I have to keep going?), but imagine how much cooler it would be sporting a 45 or full length by Meg.
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Until then? I'll spin this new Jack jam again. It's nice to hear clarinets, but it would be even nicer to hear Meg.