Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Even for as mild of a White Stripes fan as myself, White Blood Cells is a pretty damned good record. Jack and Co. tinkered with the production style they had become accustomed to; turning the volume to 11 on the guitar while sometimes adding two to three layers of them to make the songs even louder. They also get Meg White to bang aimlessly on the drums a little harder than she had in the past. The album is abrasive, with a helluva lot of attitude. White Blood Cells also has the best collection of tracks the White Stripes have ever recorded, starting with one of my favorites of theirs, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”
“Well any man with a microphone
Can tell you what he loves the most
And you know why you love at all
If you're thinking of the holy ghost”
“Hotel Yorba” follows with what has become the most used and simple three chord progression in pop history. But somehow Jack, with his attitude, his lyrics, and his voice, makes the whole thing sound wholly original.
One of the best records of the decade as so many have suggested? Perhaps by influence but certainly not by content for my money. As with all of the White Stripes records I take it in limited doses. But even though it tapers off similarly to the rest of their albums, Side A has a collection of tracks so fantastic it makes up for it. And as many complaints as I have for the elementary percussion and all the critical acclaim they’ve received over the years, I must admit I have infinite appreciation for what the White Stripes did by crafting White Blood Cells at a time when the likes of Kid Rock and Creed were the names associated with rock’n’roll.