Sound — 10
WOW, I bought this because I own and love all their other albums and the DVD, and was expecting a raw, very unproduced, simple, minimalistic debut album that was disappointing compared to the others. I got a raw, very unproduced, simple, minimalistic debut album that was better than all the others, except (maybe) Elephant. There, really is no way to describe how such a simple album can hit you so hard, make you want to pick up a guitar and sing along. From the opening pounding drums of 'Jimmy the Exploder', to the sweet slide guitar of 'I Fought Piranhas', this album is amazing. Imagine 'White Blood Cells + the heavier songs from Elephant - production - solos = this album'. The lack of solos shouldn't worry you however, as 'When I Hear My Name' is perhaps one of the most complex songs they've recorded, and the sheer awesomeness of the riffs makes up for it anyway. For the De Stijl lovers, I direct you to the simply beautiful acoustic tune 'Sugar Never Tasted So Good' and the cover of 'One More Cup of Coffee', originally by Bob Dylan, which sees Jack playing the Piano.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics, are great, although perhaps not so good as the ones on later albums. Most of the songs are clearly based on Jack's personal experiences in Detroit. 'The Big Three Killed My Baby', for example tells of a local garage owner driven out of business by the large corporate companies Ford, General Motors and Chevrolet. Also, 'Screwdriver' and 'Broken Bricks' are very straight to the point with the lyrics. However, the eccentricity clearly shows in other songs. 'Astro' namechecks several famous electricity pioneers, whilst 'Jimmy The Exploder' contains lines such as 'Green apples are gonna be exploding now' In my opinion, Jack is simply one of the best vocalists ever, and with the raw sound of this album, he shines. Maybe it is too raw for some, and I personally prefer the vocals on Elephant, but this album is certainly another strong point for him.
Overall Impression — 9
I love this album, and wouldn't hesitate to buy it again if it got even the slightest scratch. If you're reading this, you're obviously familiar with the Stripes, and considering getting this. I can tell you you shouldn't be disappointed. Anyone who only has 'Get Behind Me Satan', however, I suggest gets 'De Stijl', 'Elephant' and 'White Blood Cells' first.