Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The White Stripes

Between Meg's anxiety problems, Jack's numerous other bands and production efforts, and the three-year-and-counting gap between albums for a famously prolific group, the writing was on the wall that the White Stripes could be nearing the end. Still, the band's official breakup announcement is disappointing. It seemed like Jack and Meg White were the type of group that could out of nowhere announce a new record's release and begin a tour within, like, a week, and to have that hope extinguished is a letdown to say the least.

The White Stripes have been my favourite 'new' band for about nine years, which seems like an oxymoron. Among the glut of early-00's garage bands, they stood out because they were, at the same time, both the most gimmicky and most substantive group of the bunch. Behind the calculated colour scheme and the brother/sister (really, ex-husband and wife) gimmick was a band that was actually low-tech in everything they did, from not making proper setlists for concerts to literally using low-tech instruments and recording technology to make their records. The result was album after endlessly creative album, breathing years of new life into the blues-rock genre. It was just, at the end of the day, a guitarist and a drummer, rocking out.

The legacy --- three great albums (Icky Thump, De Stijl, Elephant), one very good album (White Blood Cells), two good albums (Get Behind Me Satan, White Stripes), a fantastic live concert/documentary, a great concert in Mississauga in 2003 (I was there!), a refurbished public baseball diamond in Detroit and a very strong case to be made as the best rock group of the Aughts. Pretty good for two people.

White Stripes, you will be missed.

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