Sound — 10
Wow, good word to describe the sound on this album, especially if you listened to the old albums by the stripes. Definitely different, drastically different in some cases. And, as is not always the case, change is great. The broken finger must have hindered Jack's playing abilities on the guitar somewhat, because the use of an electric is apparant in only 4 songs out of the 13. 'Satan' shows Jack's emergance as a pianist, on such tracks as "White Moon" and "I'm Lonely." Acoustic guitars sound great on "Little Ghost," which has a country/bluegrass feel to it, and "As Ugly As I Seem," very Dylan-esque. The stripes also employ various auxilary instruments as well, with bells, marimbas, tambourines, and a triangle all making appearances. Very different, considering how on the other albums it was almost exclusively a guitar with drums. Speaking of the drums, what can you say? It's Meg White, and she beats the hell out of her cymbals.
Lyrics — 10
Wow, another opportune time to say that. Jack, in my opinion, has been underated as a lyricist, up until winning that grammy for "Seven Nation Army." And on this album, the brilliance continues. 01. Blue Orchid - fast paced guitar, atmospheric falsetto vocals, and lyrics telling the story of a broken love, a girl who is never satisfied (lyric; 'You were given a flower, but I guess there's just no please in you'), and how Jack wants to move on ('Get behind me get behind me now anyway') 4.5/5. 02. The Nurse - a truly chilling song. Marimba driven, the lyrics touch on paranoia, and how the ones we trust the most could easily kill us ('It's always with trust that the poison is fed with a spoon'). The soft marimabas are cutted through on occasion with a piercing guitar note, or a very creepy piano build. One of the albums highlights. 5/5. 03. My Doorbell - really haven't interpreted this one yet. Not one of my favs, but still alright. It sounds too pop-ish at some points. 3.5/5. 04. Forever For Her - great tune. 'Let's do it, lets hop on a plane and lets do it' shouts Jack as he pleads to his girl to throw away inhibitions. Very well done. 5/5. 05. Little Ghost - country fried goodness, about a man who is going insane, envisioning a ghost who he falls in love with. Jack harmonizes with himself well here. 5/5. 06. The Denial Twist - again, the vocals sound a little too pop-ish, but still an alright song. 4/5. 07. White Moon - nice slow piano ballad, easy listening, haven't really examined the lyrics yet. 4/5. 08. Instinct Blues - raw, gritty, straight blues rock'n'roll here. Amazing song, awesome guitar, with Jack asking why can't understand the things animals understand instinctively (hence the title) My 2nd favorite. 5/5. 09. Passive Manipulation - Meg giving a warning to girls to follow their own dreams instead of want their fathers and brothers want. Shortest stripes song ever. 3/5. 10. Take, Take, Take - another pop-ish song, probably the best out of the three that I called pop-ish. 4.5/5. 11. Ugly As I Seem - great acoustic piece. Jack's voice sounds peaceful with such downers for lyrics. 5/5. 12. Red Rain - best song on the album, I'll let you listen for yourself, cause I could go on forever talking about this one. 5/5. 13. I'm Lonely - another country sounding tuen written on piano. A ballad explaining how Jack gets lonely at times, but remebers the good things, and realizes 'I ain't that lonely yet'. 5/5.
Overall Impression — 10
Hopefully, with the way this album is so unique and unfriendly to casual listeners, this will move The Stripes out of the evils of mainstream and back to the indie scene. If not a fan, if you don't 'get' the band, then you probably won't like this album. However, if you know what good music sounds like, you will love it.