Written Before Listen
Jack White is back!!! The well-known member of the White Stripes and other bands is back with a new album called Fear Of The Dawn. With blue hair, a new wife, and a post-pandemic world, Jack White might bring something fresh and unique to the table this time around. If you don’t know, The White Stripes are one of my favorite bands. I always loved the raw approach that Jack and Meg brought one of the things that made The White Stripes was Jack White’s devoted love to blues music. Not only with his riffs and tones, but his songwriting and aesthetic as well. With the album cover here, I honestly think I'm in for a treat so without further ado, let’s get into it.
Right away, Jack White focused on production on this album. On White Stripes records, the production was barely thought about as the records were extremely raw and unclose. This time around, the production is extremely detailed with every instrument imaginable. The drums on this are loud and abrasive throughout the entire album and are one of my favorite parts of the record. As usual, the tones are also ON POINT. Jack White has always been a master of tone but alongside that, Jack White has also improved as a guitarist so he knows how to use these tones well. Alongside that, there are keyboard sections, samples, and other interesting instrumental choices that make the entire record extremely zany. I think this album is produced immaculately and I hope I'm not alone here.
Jack White was never the man who showed influences on his sleeve entirely, but he’s always shown his love for old blues music, old country music, 60s garage rock, punk, and of course, Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin has played an influence on this record but someone who I see a lot more influence record on this album is The Who. With its experimental keyboard sounds, powerful riffs, and progressive song structures. Another person I see a lot of influence from here is Frank Zappa, Not the fusion 70s Zappa, but the early Mothers of Invention Zappa. With that, I get hints of Captain Beefheart, Mars Volta, and early British Rock from acts like The Animals and The Zombies. I’ll also say the opening track “Taking My Back” reminds me of something Queens Of The Stone Age would do, to be honest. Overall, I love the combination of influences that Jack White brings to the table.
Despite being a pure rock record, there is a lot of variety on this record. The opening track could be considered a throwback to the classic White Stripes sound but there is no other track like it after. The track “Eosophobia” is Jack White’s venture into Prog rock with its zaniness and abstract structure. The song “Into The Twilight” is one of Jack White’s most experimental tracks with its backing vocals, funk groove, and overall zaniness. After the New Age interlude, we get the song “What's The Trick” which sounds kind of like a Rage Against the Machine track the more and more I listen to it, it's like Jack’s own representation of Tom Morrello riffs and Zack like vocal delivery. The song “Morning Noon and Night” is probably one of the more accessible tracks as it's surrounded by boundary-pushing tracks. The song itself is the real lone ode to classic rock. There are also some slight blemishes of new ideas that Jack white could venture with in the future. The title track is borderline Metal with its swingy groove and distorted riff and the closer has loud enough drums to belong in a Trip hop song. Overall, Jack White doesn’t play by the rules on this album, he doesn't limit himself at all and I love hearing it.
As a White Stripes fan, I’ve never heard (if not heard, enjoyed) anything this progressive or experimental from Jack White until now. The only examples I could maybe think of are “Icky Thump” and “Little Room”. This time around, Jack White plays with no bullshit throughout the entire album. The album is dense, chaotic, noisy, and bold. It drives itself away from the raw, minimalist, and unruly music that The White Stripes were known for. Would I say it's a good thing? Yeah sure, but I do think some of the experimentations are not that experimental. A lot of the quirkiness this album brings has already been done by other artists. I think Jack White does better going in that direction than he does experimenting on this album.
Well, one thing out of the bat that I already said is that I think Jack White tries to make this album larger than it is. I also get carnival/circus vibes from this and despite that not being a bad thing, it does get campy at points. Other than that, Fear Of The Dawn shows Jack White taking a very exciting and strong direction.
I'm really glad Jack White is taking this direction with his music. Do I think it results in his best work? No, but I do think he is now capable of having a career resurgence. He also has another album coming out in 2022 and you’re damn right that I'm excited for it.