Icky Thump comes at just the right time. The hard, wirey guitar reminding me of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, and John Spencer Blues Explosion. The ethereal clarity of sound and sentiment that made me fall in love with The White Stripes, and Jack, to begin with. Ruthlessly true — like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and, from what I’m told, the blues, a genre I am ignorant of — this album keeps up the Stripes’ quest to lay it bare. As the line in ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ goes: “Until you say you deserve better / I’m gonna lay right into you.”
We don’t say we deserve better, so they keep going.
I don’t know that much about these two. There’s been so much written, but I don’t read a lot because I don’t want to get into it. The music is enough for me. Their songs keep me company when I’m lonely. They help me get mad when a stupid boy hurts me. And then they explain — compassionately and without excuses — why he did it. Or why I’m the one who did it. … And that it’s okay because we all do it — hurt someone, or get hurt — at one time or another. They tell me to have a heart and be brave and keep going. And they remind me that the best things in life — beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace — cannot be willed into being. They are free for the taking, if only we can find the courage to set aside our egos and be open to them.
Appropriately, seeing the White Stripes at Madison Square Garden is not among the best things in life. I had to open up my wallet and shell out over $100 for two GA tickets. Though I can’t imagine how these two artists who work in such precious, personal intimacies will be able to overcome the monstrous setting to give me a feeling I’m looking for, paying for, I’ll still go to see them. Because you never really know.