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Review: The White Stripes “Self-Titled”

Each week the Hard Times takes a good, hard look at an important album in music’s storied history. Today, join me as I put my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from the prestigious Hartt School Music Conservatory (Class of 2010) to good use for once, and provide a trenchant, pedagogic, but hopefully not didactic, approach to songwriting on The White Stripes’ self-titled debut LP, song by song.

Let’s all take our seats, as I have a lot of material to get through in just a short amount of time, and this can get a little complicated if you don’t pay attention. Bear with me, class is now in session.

“Jimmy The Exploder” – Oh hell yeah

“Stop Breaking Down” – Are you kiddin’ me, rips so hard

“The Big Three Killed My Baby” – *bites lip* mmhmm

“Suzy Lee” – Banger

“Sugar Never Tasted So Good” – You’ve honestly gotta be kidding me with this, LOVE

“Wasting My Time” – Yesssssssssss-

“Cannon” – (continued) -sssssssssssssssss

“Astro” – *bangs table* THIS one, right here

“Broken Bricks” – Ok, go off, Jack!

“When I Hear My Name” – Haven’t forgot about you, Meg!

“Do” – You know what’s really good on this one? The guitar and the drums. Also the singing.

“Screwdriver” – Owns.

“One More Cup of Coffee” – *raises the roof, unironically*

“Little People” – Sorry, I said this one already, but there’s no other way to put it: oh hell yeah.

“Slicker Drips” – Damn, this rocks

“St. James Infirmary Blues” – Damn, this blues-es

“I Fought Piranhas” – As luck would have it, I enjoy this one as well.

While I know a track-by-track breakdown through an academic lens may seem like heavy-handed excess, I promise you it was the only way to do justice to a collection of modern music with this much sonic nuance. I hope I’ve helped you all learn a little something. Not only about composition…but, perhaps, just maybe, about life.

Score: A+ just like all the grades I got at Hartt (Note to editor: please for the love of god, do not fact-check the previous sentence.)