My original plans of swimming early this morning were waylaid when we were hit with an ice storm making the roads pretty dangerous. Okay, I slept in. But there was an ice storm and the roads are shitty and it would have been pretty dangerous to be out driving this morning so I apologize for nothing. What this means then is that I swam 3400m this evening instead and I’m now following that up with a quick weights session while enjoying another White Stripes album, this time ‘Elephant‘.
Released on April 1, 2003 on V2 Records, this represents the bands 4th studio album. It’s release garnered near unanimous critical acclaim and commercial success for the anemic brother and sisterduo, garnering them a nomination for Album of the Year and a win for Best Alternative Music Album at the 46th Grammy Awards in 2004; peaking at #6 in the US Billboard charts and topping the UK album charts. All this praise is likely what also spooked me off the band entirely given the total rebel I was at the time.
In later years the album has often been cited as the White Stripes’ best work and one of the best albums of the 2000s; Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #390 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and later, the fifth-best of the decade. The success of the album was bolstered by the massively successful hit single, ‘Seven Nation Army‘.
‘Elephant‘ was the the first album they recorded for a major label, and it sounds even more pissed-off, paranoid, and stunning than any of its predecessors….or the ones I’ve managed to listen to at this point anyway. total chip-on-the-shoulder anthems like the popular opener, ‘Seven Nation Army‘, which is driven by Meg’s explosively minimal drumming, and ‘The Hardest Button to Button‘, in which Jack snarls “Now we’re a family!” – one of the best oblique threats since Black Francis sneered “It’s educational!” all those years ago (‘U-Mass‘, click HERE) – deliver some fierce as fuck blues-punk which is awesome for throwing around heavy iron on a Friday evening. Similarly, ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself‘ goes from plaintive to angry in just over a minute, while the show-stopping ‘Ball and Biscuit‘, seven flat-out seductive minutes of preening, boasting, and amazing guitar prowess that ranks as one the band’s most traditionally bluesy (not to mention sexy) songs. And Lord knows what Jack was thinking about when he wrote ‘Little Acorns’ about some woman and the inspiration she gets from a squirrel of all damn things…but I like it. I admit, there might have been some strutting around the gym floor going on here on my behalf.
I admit, I’m really beginning to warm to the White’s. It may have taken me the better part of 10 years to figure them out but, hey, better late than never I suppose. Also, what I like is coming late to the gym so that I have the entire place to myself. God that was nice.