I approach this album from an unusual standpoint: I'm not familiar with any of Jack White's earlier output. Consequently, the other reviews on here, nearly all of which have been written in the light of his past, make fascinting reading for someone who feels as if he's just emerged from the kingdom of the deaf.
Well, I like this album a lot. I think it lacks a truly outstanding track, but is consistently very good. What strikes me most about White is his penchant for a play on words, plus the strong rhythms in his lyrics. The latter possesses the elegance, clarity and occasional beauty that is missing from rap music. 'Trash Tongue Talker' bears a vague resemblance to the form Chuck Berry, who gave rock and roll its poetry, used. Meanwhile, as if to emphasise the 'Hip (Eponymous)' joke, the insert contains a photo of hippos. With 'Love Interruption', White makes much of grouping words that end 'upt'. Partly because of this, his lyrics, like those of many other songwriters are somewhat oblique and impressionistic rather than direct.
Even so, you get the point: most of these tracks have a bitter, waspish aura. I saw his performances of 'Sixteen Saltines' and 'Hip...' on 'Later with Jools Holland' last Friday and he played and sang like a man with a lot to get off his chest. The former, however, is the most abrasive recording on an album that comes in several shades of belligerence. It also contains some brazen innuendo: 'She's got a pink mailbox that she puts out front'. Most moving track? For me, 'On and On and On', in terms of style at least, quite beautiful.
I don't agree with the 'finest guitarist' eulogies. He's good, in the same way dozens of guitarists are. If anything, the inspired piano parts are more impressive. 'Blunderbuss' does, however, interest me in his back catalogue.