The White Stripes Rave (AKA: The Do Believe The Hype Rave)
No ranting today, just raving. Like yin and yang, you've gotta have both for a balanced universe, right?
Anyhow, here's my challenge for all of you: Can anyone name a band that has put out more amazing music over the past 10 years than The White Stripes? I know I can't. I mean, it's pretty obvious that they have no real competition over the past 5 or 6 years - who else has put out 4 classic albums since 2000? - but what about over the past decade?
Four classic albums in a row is something rarely achieved: The Velvet Underground did it with 4 classic releases between '67 and '70; Joni Mitchell did it starting with "Ladies Of The Canyon" in '70 up until "Court and Spark" in '74; then there was Stevie Wonder, who was on fire all through the 70s; and The Beatles, of course, all through the '60s, especially, for me personally, from "Rubber Soul" onwards; and how about Prince all through the 80s, but even he couldn't sustain it, blowing it with that "Around The World In A Day" album. Both Public Enemy and REM were totally on fire in the '80s right into the early '90s, but it's debatable whether either put out 4 consecutive classic albums. There was Elvis Costello who did it between '77 and '79. And The Who, Randy Newman, Van Morrison and Led Zeppelin all arguably did it in the late-60s and early-70s - what a time to have been out there buying new records! Otis did it in the mid-'60s. And, of course, there was Bruce Springsteen between '73 and '87 (what a run!!). Most incredible of all was CCR's run of 4 or 5 (depending on how high you rate "Pendulum") classic albums in 2 (yes, two!!!) years back in 1969/70!!
Then there were The Stones, who from '68 to '72 were absolutely perfect, releasing 4 of the greatest albums ever made, one after another: "Beggars Banquet", "Let It Bleed", "Sticky Fingers" and "Exile On Main Street". And let's not forget The Bob who did it between '64 and '66 with the consecutive releases of "Another Side Of Bob Dylan", "Bringing It All Back Home", and the incredible "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde On Blonde". Amazingly, he then came back the next year, in '67, with yet another classic, "John Wesley Harding". That's 5 all-time classics in 4 years! Actually 6, since "The Basement Tapes" was recorded, but not released, at that time as well. But, hey, that's The Bob.
Ok, so it's been done before, but not that often. Four classics in a row: Aretha Franklin couldn't do it; Marvin Gaye couldn't pull it off; neither could The Clash; nor could Neil Young; nor Sinead O'Connor; nor The Red Hot Chili Peppers; and neither could Nirvana, nor Pearl Jam; and, no, not even U2 could do it, not unless you consider "Rattle and Hum" a classic album.
The White Stripes are the real deal. I don't think anyone else comes close when it comes to producing amazing music over the last decade. I hear calls of "What about Outkast?", to which I say two classics so far, not 4. They're halfway there though. Four brilliant albums in a row by Jack and Meg White (who alone make up The White Stripes): 2000's "De Stijl", 2001's "White Blood Cells", 2003's "Elephant" and this year's "Get Behind Me Satan". All classics! (And their first album is great too). Fantastic band! Fantastic music! Hard rockin' and heavily rooted in blues and country (and, hey, that's what rock 'n' roll is all about). Old, yet clearly new. If you like rock 'n' roll go out and buy these albums. It's that simple.
However, if your idea of rock is Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys, Britney, N'Sync or any of that other crap, then put your wallet away, turn on American Idol, forget about The White Stripes and shut up already - damn! (A little Prince quote there - couldn't resist). For all the rest of you, get out there and buy buy buy. You won't be sorry. If you can only afford one, then I'd probably recommend you start with the newest one, "Get Behind Me Satan", which just came out in June.
So, yes, do believe the hype! Remember that most of those artists named in the previous paragraphs were all heavily hyped as well, no one greater than The Beatles. But, hey, the hype was warranted, wasn't it? And so it is once again with The White Stripes.
Time to go shopping.
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Sunday, August 14th, 2005
To read about The White Stripes in concert click here: Doing Lines With The White Stripes and The New Magnificent Seven
And to read about another great concert click here: The Amazing Adventures of Todd Snider and The Magnificent Seven