ALBUM: “Elephant” by The White Stripes
RELEASE YEAR: 2003
LABEL: This Man Records
BEST TRACKS: “Ball and Biscuit”, “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Seven Nation Army”
No album embodies the early 2000s garage rock revival better than “Elephant.” Meg and Jack White clearly put their all into it, as it’s often heralded as the White Stripes’ best release.
As the sounds from ’60s rock were coming back into style, the duo set out to record “Elephant” on retro equipment to achieve a more organic sound. Produced in Liam Watson’s Toe Rag Studio in London, none of the equipment was from later than 1963. You can find the words, “No computers were used during the writing, recording, mixing, or mastering of this record” on the inside of the LP cover.
The result was worth their tedious analog methods. Cutting blues, hard-hitting punk, and an incredible sense of rhythm make “Elephant” an unforgettable album. Jack White’s forceful voice slides across each song with impassioned intensity, complimenting his gutsy guitar playing. Songs like “Little Acorn” and “Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine” have a twinge of metal to them, showing off the White’s mastery of hard rock. “Ball and Biscuit” stands out as a bluesy epic as screeching riffs stretch across seven minutes of pure hysteria.
Meanwhile, “You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket,” an acoustic, romantic song, exposes Jack’s softer side. “In the Cold, Cold Night” follows a similar trend, featuring a rare snippet of Meg’s singing. And, of course, who can forget “Seven Nation Army,” containing one of the most recognizable “basslines” ever made (it’s actually a semi-acoustic guitar hooked up to a pitch shift pedal).
“Elephant” is filled to the brim with goodness. It’s not only the quintessential White Stripes album, but it also defines an entire era of music perfectly.
– DJ Butter