Sound — 10
Most music buffs out there would agree that Jack White is one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, and I would have to say within the top 20 or so of all time that I have ever heard. His simple, yet innovative licks and terrific use of distortion are the reason I dig this group so much. That said, when I first listened to this album, I was disappointed. I sampled each song and proceeded to cock my head like a dog hearing a high pitched noise, I didn't get it. In my frustration, I took it home and listened from beginning to end, and I have listened to nothing since. Once my expectations were out of the way, I saw this album for what it is diverse/exceptional/downright f--ing groovy! Once again, the Stripes use only the bare minimum technology and produce a real gem.
Lyrics — 8
It usually takes me a few times through an album before I can fully digest the lyrical content, but to make it short and sweet, this is certainly their most mature effort yet. Jack's lyrics seem to poke fun at himself in new interesting ways. These songs have an air of latent emotions, kicked off in "The Nurse" and accentuated by "As Ugly As I Seem" (the best lyrics on the album). He seems to enjoy making fun of himself as well as everyone else. The problem is the consistency. Some songs just don't have much to offer lyrically, although they make up for it instrumentally. I'm also not sure about the arrangement, seems to me it could have flowed better.
Overall Impression — 10
These cats just never cease to amaze me. Their versatility is wonderfully explored in this album. A little feel of bluegrass in "Little Ghost" (I still can't help laughing when I hear it), the folk sound of "As Ugly As I Seem" (in my opinion, a classic), stylish blues/rock on "Instinct Blues" and "Take, Take, Take", and the good old fashioned cherry-bomb rock I love the Stripes for in "Blue Orchid." Like I said before, I wasn't too sure about this album at first but it only took the second time through for it to grow on me, and has kept growing every time since. My only disappointment was that I would have liked to hear a little more of Jack's guitar which is his strongest asset. When it comes to use of distortion and clarity, he is almost on the same level as Hendrix and I just love to hear what he will come up with next. Overall though, I can't say this is better than their other albums, but it certainly is an equal.