ALBUM REVIEW: Jack White presides over musical union on ‘Lazaretto’

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First Posted: 6/17/2014

Jack White has seemingly done everything in the music business. He has helmed three bands (often at the same time), played with legends of the music industry, and produced countless albums for other musicians. Most recently, the Detroit rock powerhouse released his second solo album, “Lazaretto.” Stylistically, the album is all over the place; elements of rock, blues, country, funk, and soul (just to name a few) can be heard throughout. However, under White’s musical mastery, they marry together flawlessly.

The marriage of styles (in terms of songs and the album as a whole) is heard as soon as the album opens. “Three Women” has this great opening soul sound to it. Then it’s met with White’s bluesy vocals, and at this point one can’t tell where the soul ended and the blues began; they have been intertwined. “Temporary Ground” brings the tempo down with its gentle, heartfelt country atmosphere. “Just One Drink” could fit in with the rock ‘n’ roll of the ‘50s and ‘60s perfectly. One great track is “Would You Fight for My Love?” Maybe it’s the tone, the outlaw-guitar vibe, or the steady buildup of musical aggression, but it sounds as if a western could be made out of this song itself.

“Lazaretto” is not without the usual raucous sound that White is known for: the title track, “High Ball Stepper,” a wondrous instrumental track, and “That Black Bat Licorice” fit that bill. But nothing on this album is stereotypical, including these three tracks. The fact is, one would be hard-pressed to name another musician who can dabble in sounds and styles as well as he can. “Lazaretto” is an amazing musical accomplishment. Jack White is a musician’s musician, and this album is a perfect example of why that is the case.

Jack White ‘Lazaretto’ Rating: W W W W W