Jack White - Boarding House Love
Boarding House Love
Jack White is the coolest guy in the world right? He lives in Nashville so that's gotta be cool. He owns a fancy ancient vinyl record making machine, also cool. You would always hear about stories of people going to Nashville to record in White's studio and absorb some of his musical genius. The problem with all of these tales and all the cult of personality surrounding Jack White is that the music was never good enough to live up to the story of how good the music was. The White Stripes had something interesting and new, a sound their own, but when Jack White started to become the arbiter of all things Rock He never proved why He suddenly was given that honor. You would occasionally hear something decent from his studio or something He produced sounding nice, but his own work was...just ok. On this new album Boarding House Love White delves into some rock and roll exploration that feels like a Led Zeppelin re-hash from the start. His Prince-esque screams on "Corporation" feel so incredibly forced and the almost six minute song it a painfully long jam sesh. Every moment of this album feels like someone is really impressed with what they are doing, so self important that you want to scream. Bewildering intros that never seem to end and an almost methodical ability to not edit a single fucking note out makes this album so overblown and so long that it's tough to even get through. The forty-four minute run time absolutely crawl by with Jack White even making the three minute songs feel 12 minutes long. To add insult to injury Jack White raps on "Ice Station Zebra", that's right, He raps and it fucking stinks. You would expect it would take a monumentally good song for Jack mother fucking White to try and rap, but it feels like He just kind of stubmled across this song and decided to change everything about his musical self. It feels like White thinks He has some kind of ownership of all music and can play in any genre He chooses, which sure do your thing big guy, but when it sucks He needs to be called out.
It wouldn't be fair if I didn't give credit where credit is due, the production on this album is absolutely razor sharp. "Respect Commander" is wild and experimental with instruments coming in and out at such a rapid pace it's hard to keep it all straight. He uses space and time so well but only in moments, He allows the full impression of the album slip away from him as he dives deep onto the tiny details and occasional flourishes. You'll find yourself enamored with the way percussion is used at times, or how rich the album can sound in your ears, but it never is enough to make up for all the other problems. The record is entirely devoid of humor. Every moment has so much weight and seriousness that it feels uncomfortable and off putting. It is almost like Jack White is trying to give you an album to hate, daring you to not like his work which is easier and easier track over track. Jack White has almost become a caricature of himself at this point, a lot more style than substance. How many mediocre albums do we have to suffer through before we realize Jack White might just be a label owner? If you are into bland self indulgent guitar music with a nice dose of Americana than maybe this album is for you, but the truth is this record is for one person and one person only: Jack White, and that's the problem.
2.0 out of 10