Saturday, November 07, 2009

Top 25 of the 2000s, #17 - "Get Behind Me Satan"

You can say what you will about The White Stripes, but one thing no one will ever be able to take away from them is this:

Fans chanting “Seven Nation Army”

You can probably count on one hand the number of songs that have become synonymous with athletic events: “All Right Now,” “Rock ‘n Roll Part 2,” a handful of others. “Seven Nation Army” is on that short list thanks to European football fans, but now it’s starting to catch on in the U.S. as well – you hear it a lot at college football games, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard snippets of that instantly recognizable chant at pro game as well.

“Blue Orchid”

“Seven Nation Army” isn’t even on “Get Behind Me Satan,” the subject of this piece and the #17 album on my Top 25 of the 2000s. “Blue Orchid” leads off the album and is probably the closest to a guitar anthem on it. But guitar anthems are not the strength of the record; there are several better ones on the albums that preceded it, “White Blood Cells” and “Elephant.” This one gains its strength from the slower ones; the acoustic tunes on which you hear little more than Jack White on acoustic guitar, or the piano. When it first came out, “Satan” reminded me a lot of the moments when Led Zeppelin would put away the bombast and Robert Plant would move into “dreamy” mode – and you’ll just have to trust me that I mean that as a compliment.

“I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet)"

In addition to the tune performed in the above clip, standouts include “As Ugly As I Seem” and “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me).” But overall, “Get Behind Me Satan” achieves a consistency that Jack and Meg have never reached elsewhere. The highlights of “Elephant” may be stronger, but overall the follow-up gets the prize – at least in my book – for the title of their best album.

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