Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Jack White

  • Blunderbuss [Third Man/Columbia, 2012] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Blunderbuss [Third Man/Columbia, 2012]
Two factors underlie the profitability of a lifelong conceptual art project devoted to woman-friendly roots-rock: the pop market's naked hunger for tune, which the conceptmaster respects as a roots-rock essential, and its recidivist hankering for blues-based guitar, which the conceptmaster reconstitutes more snazzily than his coequal Derek Trucks--who, you will note, does his most meaningful work in his uncle's band, and that includes the roots-rock corn he sows with the gifted blues musician he married. Trucks has more chops, but White has more audacity, and his nominal solo debut is as striking sonically as any album he's ever authorized. His respect for tune notwithstanding, however, its most fetching song by far is Rudy Toombs's "I'm Shakin'," covered in a version that resembles the Blasters' rocker far more than Little Willie John's shiftier original. I blame this shortfall on White's disregard for a roots-rock essential called groove. Carla Azar does have more jam than Meg White, but not enough. With hip-hop ever beyond him, maybe he should give Cindy Blackman a call. A-