“Get Behind Me Satan” by The White Stripes

Artist: White Stripes
Title: “Get Behind Me Satan”
Label: V2 Records Inc
Release Date: 6/2/2005
Genre: Alternative
Rating: 3.5/5

On their fifth full length CD Get Behind Me Satan, The Whites Stripes have decided to recreate “a vinyl record album” in every traditional sense and have gone out of their way to appropriately set the sonic stage. In a perverse reverse engineering of what many of us are doing when digitally recording and cleaning our vinyl collections, surface noise and subtle tape hiss have been added to the mix and clicks and pops associated with LP’s dot the songs sporadically to authenticate the experience Like the classic record albums of the late 60’s/early 70’s this album clocks in at less than 44 minutes and would fit perfectly on two sides of an LP. Just about the only thing missing is the sound of the tone arm lifting between side changes.

Musically the album exchanges the pseudo Sabbath/Zep guitars of Elephant with piano, acoustic guitar and in some cases (“The Nurse”) marimba. This sound palate harks back to the Rolling Stones mid-period of the Beggar’s Banquet and Let It Bleed albums and the slide guitar sleaze of “Memo From Turner”. Like those records Get Behind Me Satan carries an air of post-Civil War southern decay, the dark sounding block piano chord work is particularly reminiscent of Nicky Hopkins’ work with The Stones during this time.

One might be tempted to call this a “transitional’ record but after several listens that will seem a misnomer. If you take into consideration Jack White’s collaboration with country music diva Loretta Lynn (yielding the chart topping/award winning album “Van Leer Rose”), his role as itinerant musician in the Civil War film “Cold Mountain” and a title that could have been on a Louvin Brothers record, this album reveals itself as a destination reached rather than a way-station on a road to somewhere else.

Those expecting more “Seven Army Nation” style tunes may be disappointed, only the opening and penultimate songs (“Blue Orchid” and “Red Rain”) and the electrified back porch stomp of “Instinct Blues” explore the White Stripe’s patented electric guitar pound and screech to any extent. Unlike Beggar’s Banquet there is no “Street Fighting Man” or “Sympathy for the Devil” here to energize the proceedings. Even so, these tunes offer all the things you’d expect from a White Stripes set. They are engaging and fun (“My Doorbell”), childlike (“Little Ghost”) and self effacing, especially the goodbye-Rene-Zellweger tune “Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)”. Pop ‘em onto your iPod next to their “kissin’ cousins” from previous albums and they fit into the family just fine.

Track Listing:
1. Blue Orchid
2. The Nurse
3. My Doorbell
4. Forever For Her (Is Over For Me)
5. Little Ghost
6. The Denial Twist
7. White Moon
8. Instinct Blues
9. Passive Manipulation
10. Take, Take, Take
11. As Ugly As I Seem
12. Red Rain
13. I’m Lonely

Official Website: http://www.whitestripes.com

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