on 16 November 2001
As soon as I heard "Hotel Yorba", which has only been released this week, I had to buy the album. It was on import at the time. From start to finish, it is pure magic! "Hotel Yorba" was a superb choice for a first British single release. It's fast aced, bouncy and makes you wanna slap your thigh and sing along! Throughout the album, I just keep beating along on the table to Meg's excellent drumming and percussion, while Jack's guitar and vocals are second to none. They stand along with any guitar rock and blues guitarists strums. His vocals have really come out in this record, whereas the other two, "The White Stripes", and "De Stijl"(which I had to buy when I'd heard this, I wanted more!), the vocals were not as much his own style or as prominent. They really stand out on this album. The music is flowing aswell as being different, especially in the instrumentals. Look out for "I'm finding it harder to be a Gentlemen", "We're going to be friends", "Aluminium", and "I can't wait". And...I strongly advise you to get The White Stripes other albums, if you like this. I can see Jack(real name John) and Meg getting better and better and producing more brilliant records. We must remember, they're only 25 and 26! There's years of great, fun music to come! Get this.
on 17 February 2003
I'd not heard the White Stripes before buying this album on the recommendation of a friend, except on a couple of live TV shows, where their sound levels were set up terribly so you couldn't hear any vocals and far too much drums. I thought they were pants, basically.
Then I listened to "Hotel Yorba" and haven't been able to get the bloody thing out of my head for weeks. This is an album charged with energy and passion; each song is loaded with either deep emotion or just raw love of what they're doing. The songs range from the gentle ballad of "The Same Boy You've Always Known" to the energetically throbbing "I Think I Smell A Rat". And - what a bonus on the music scene as it stands today - the Stripes' lyrics actually have some thought and truth behind them; a novelty rather than the norm these days, sadly. As I've already said, "Hotel Yorba" is disturbingly catchy... but then so are almost all the other songs on this album, particularly the introductory "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" and "Fell In Love With a Girl".
And all this musical quality, which really does advance the rock 'n' roll genre, with 3 instruments in total. A guitar, a drumkit and a keyboard. Produced on the ragged edge - they do their thing, and that's that; quite often you can hear the odd word or "Can you get me the-..." in the background recorded in the track itself, before the song has even finished. "Little Room" only has drums and Jack's vocals, yet it's one of the highlights of the album, lasting all of a minute and a half. It says a lot about the quality of this album that it's so thoroughly engrossing and engaging with such slipshod production values and often tragically short songs - in total it's only about 40 minutes long. In fact, my one complaint about this rough and ready piece of musical excellence is that it's too damned short! If it wasn't for the invention of the "Repeat All" button this would be much more of a concern... as it is, you can leave this disc on repeat for as long as possible; believe me, it's worth every minute.
on 14 September 2001
I heard Johm Peel once decribe the White Stripes as "the most interesting sound since punk", and this album certainly dosnt dissapoint. Between the two of them, Mary and Jack White have created a sound and a tempo that is almost unique to themselves, thanks largely to Jack's fantastic voice which alternates between a spitting passion, gravelly kittykat growl and breaking country twang (and sometimes all three at once!).
Although it cannot quite maintain its momentum over the last few tracks, the first 12 contain everything you could possibly wish for, from the anti-capitalist anger of "The Union Forever", to feelgood tracks like "Hotel Yorba" and "Fell In Love With a Girl", the gentle whistfulness of "Going to be Friends" (which would not have been out of place on a Kingsbury Manx album) and the unashamed rock theatre of "Smell a Rat".
Above all this album is simply one of the most enjoyable and satisfying i have ever heard. If you have ever liked any song with drums, guitar and vocals in it then there will be something on this album you will enjoy.
on 22 July 2002
This album is the best advance in rock music I have heard yet. They have combined mellow tracks such as "We're Going to be Friends" with great rock in "Expecting" added to a bit of their own bizarre taste with "Little Room". They have taken rock back to its basics and it has worked; this is the best album of the year and must be bought by everyone.
on 21 December 2004
Hotel Yorba was the song that got me into the White Stripes, a short but still very catchy song. I got the album after hearing Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground. This album offers much in the way of diversity and showcases the true, pure musical talent that the duo, holds. Opening with the anthemic Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground, an excellent song with loud guitar riffs but still sung in a somewhat sensitive voice by Jack White. The album also includes the unique Fell In Love With A Girl, which is as catchy as it is fast. However all is beaten by the wonderful We're Going To Be Friends. This song stuck in my mind on the first listen. It shows a more sensitive side to the Stripes aside from all the loud thrashier songs and its a sensitive side that I like in the band. The song gives me some great memories of when I first met a girl that I like. The verdict; an excellent album from opener to ending, a great range of styles, inspirational and musically brilliant. Safe to say this album is brilliant in more ways than one.
on 3 October 2001
When I first listened to this album I was instantly struck by something. It was good. It doesn't flow like a well produced, big star CD and this is one its resounding qualities. Every track has something new to offer and pulls on different musical genre. "We're going to friends" is a fantastic track and for me had a Nick Drake feel about it, sweet and poetic. Then at the other end of the scale you have "I think I smell a rat" which has extravagant guitar and vocals which will make you sit up and listen. All in all this is 16 tracks of pure raw pleasure from two talented people in Tennessee. Listen to it, let it grow on you and you won't listen to anything else for weeks.
on 28 February 2002
How do I delineate this album? I'm not exactly sure. Perhaps, Led Zepplin amalgamated with The Ramones, mix in some blues and country, and then, once you've commingled these constituents, add in a generous dollop of agrestic, roughshod and rawness.
The album still sounds, to my mind, unrefined (which says something about their previous two efforts). It's garage rock. In fact, its rock distilled down to its basic elements and delivered without the gimcrackery. Meg White is on drums, with Jack White providing vocals and guitar. On that note, Jack has a great voice. It is "distinctive"; harsh, screeching at times, but with a wonderful melodic pliancy (just when you feel it's going to skriegh off into dissonance, he reels it back into his own patented unwieldy version of "in tune", and it really "works"). On track 6 this is demonstrated befittingly, with Jack's vocalizations paired only with percussion, for a gratifying "bare bones" effect. He is talented, but in the sense that a bare-knuckle fighter is "talented".
There's a welcoming diversity to the songs. Some more harmonious, a couple featuring an organ and piano for good measure, and some more "venomous" and vitriolic.
Overall, I like this album. Unquestionably better than the previous two, which could have been astronomical had they just had the edges "smoothed over" a shade. There's "unrefined" and there's "unrefined, been recorded on a tape-recorder in your parent's basement, unrefined". In actuality, in terms of musical maturation and melodies, I preferred BOTH the earlier two, but when it boils down to it they were plainly "not finished".
This album is exceptional if you enjoy your rock'n'roll unadulterated and have not been entirely corrupted by the set-piece excuse for "rock" that is being churned out so oftentimes today.
on 5 February 2012
One of The White Stripes' finest albums...the songs are loud but ear-friendly, and the group make 'big' songs (considering the fact they're a duo).
The songs are quite short (one lasting under a minute) and it doesn't take too long to play through the album; The one (other) good thing about the songs is that they sound as good 10 years on from when I first heard them...Personal stand-out song (though many would disagree) is 'Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground'...
All I can say is, if you only ever buy one White Stripes album: Toss a coin, its either this or Elephant...I'd get both anyway...
on 13 September 2002
OK, so the White Stripes are old news, but having just seen them perform Dead leaves and the dirty ground on the Top of The Pops' 2000th show, I just had to come through, put the album on full blast and rave about these guys again.
From Detroit, Jack and Meg White (brother and sister) are...what to say? Amazing? Incredible? I think the one that sums them up the best is powerful. Ok, so the music is rough, Jack's voice breaks sometimes and Meg can be a little eratic in her drumming, but everytime i hear 'fell in love with a girl'(a funky song just 1 minute 40 secs long) I feel something explode inside me and a need to play it at least 6 times to feel fufilled!
Every track on this album is perfection, the closest to a dud is 'i think we're going to be friends' but even then it serves as a break from Meg's frantic drumming and lets Jack's voice calm down. My favourite song, apart from 'fell in love with a girl' has to be 'i can't wait'. Its beautiful, the guitar riff at the beginning is melancholy and filled with longing, with Jack's voice practically whispering 'Who do you think you're messing with girl?' trying desperatly to sound defiant. then the drums kick in and it turns into a shouty, 'god i hate you but i can't leave you alone' song interspersed (sorry about bad spelling!)with tenderness.
I can't possible say everything about this band that i want, everytime I hear them something wells up inside me and every time i listen to it, it sounds like the first time.
Feel no shame about buying this album a year after people raved about them, about jumping on the band wagon. Just buy it and feel better knowing that at least one band in the world has got it right.
on 15 March 2002
Firstly, you should know what I like so you can decide whether I'm talking your langauge at all: Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Nirvana, Hendrix Experience are my favourite bands.
I haven't heard a more promising rock album since the release of 'The Bends' in 1995. There have been some good albums since then, a lot of which will beat 'White Blood Cells' hands down in terms of technique and musical ingenuity. But I've never been of the opinion that perfect technique makes a good band anyway, and the Stripes' strengths lie elsewhere.
The shear vitality of this album, its raw power, the fact that Jack White's abrasive guitar sounds as if its being played in the same room as you, the lack of studio gloss; these are what makes this such a gem of an album.
The best way, I suppose, to describe it, is as a mixture of 'The White Album' and 'Zeppelin II'. It's not as good as either, of course, but c'mon, be a little patient...
FACT: Mary White is not John Bonham or Mitch Mitchell or Ginger Baker or Dave Grohl. But the simplicity of her drumming actually gives this album a superb sense of beat and rhythm, that you can only really appreciate at the end. In my view, it is that very simplicity that gives each song so much structure.
Of course, this is top heavy music, the simple drums and complete lack of bass meaning that Jack's guitar has to do a hell of a lot of work to catch up. But boy can he play the guitar! He's not Page, but it sounds each time although it's his first take, as though it's being played in a garage for friends. It sounds...well...REAL.
This album is a roller-coaster of abrasive guitar and 60s pop beat, with a bluesy vocals that has just a hint of the early Page (and sounds identical to a late Lennon on 'We're going to be friends') but has an undeniable character of its own that compliments the other components of the music perfectly. Most of the tunes are insanely catchy, and really speed you along through the album- it gives you a real rush (Zep fans: think of the urgency on 'Rock and Roll' and you're getting close).
Now. I've only given it 4* because I think 5* should be used sparingly, and because this is a great album but not a classic in the 'OK Computer' sense of the (over-used) word.
I expect really great, great things of Jack White and his sister, but I fear that the group's size might make development a bit tricky... that is unless Jack is a singer/songwriter in the Bob Dylan vein, but that's all got to be proved...
But you should certainly buy this album, it really does live up to the hype, unlike a lot of things in this life.