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White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan


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Band: The White Stripes

Album: Get Behind Me Satan

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Released June 7, 2005

Label: V2

Jack White: Guitar, Marimba, Piano

Meg White: Drums

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 (But I Aint That Lonely Yet)

My first experience with this album was an experience I presume many people have when they buy this album. I was a huge fan of the Stripes’ masterpiece, “Elephant,†and could not wait until another album was released from this blistering blues rock group. I bought the album the day it came out, went home immediately, and cranked up the volume on my CD player, excited, thinking I was about to rock my brains out. The first track came in, and I thought “well, this is strange, but it sure does rock hard!†So I was satisfied. When the next song came in, I thought “Marimbas? Well that’s odd.†I didn’t like it so much, but remembered Elephant had a quiet section I wasn’t too fond of (I like it now, but didn’t like it then). But after 5 more songs without heavily distorted guitars, I thought “What are the White Stripes thinking?†After the end of the album, I was highly dissatisfied, as most of the songs were quiet, and the only one that reminded me at of the White Stripes at all was Red Rain. I couldn’t believe I had waited 2 years for this.

After a few more listens, I was able to put my biases aside, and I realized it’s not a bad album. This album is in no way similar to “Elephant,†and they will probably lose many fans that started listening to them when Elephant came out. But the White Stripes are such an unconventional band, perhaps that was their point in making the album. Perhaps they wanted to break away from their mainstream image. Perhaps they wanted to test who their true fans are. Perhaps they did Elephant to become popular, and now that they are, they can pursue the kind of music they really want to play. Or perhaps they were just looking for a change of musical scenery. Whatever the case, this is a good album. Forget everything you’ve ever heard from the Stripes, and just listen to the music.

The album starts off with the song “Blue Orchid.†This is a very bizarre song, it’s a hybrid of heavy metal, punk, and disco. It’s the most glam the White Stripes have ever done. Unlike their usual, rootsy blues, this song features very heavily processed guitars. The riff played throughout the song is terrific. It’s the most hard-rocking song on the album, and probably the best. If any of the songs on this album becomes a big hit, I’m sure it will be this one.

After the heavily processed, almost electronic sound of “Blue Orchid,†it’s a surprise when the next song starts, “The Nurse.†It’s incredibly rootsy, and hardly a rock song. It’s mostly done with just piano and marimba. It does sound like old Stripes, except softer, and with marimbas. Perhaps mocking the expectations of this album, there are frequent, off-beat blasts of distorted guitar and cymbals. Perhaps this is the Stripes trying to ask “Is this really what you are looking for? Heaviness?†The song doesn’t stand up very well on its own, but it’s important to the album. It shows their transition from the previous, heavy metal song, to the softer side of the rest of the album.

The next song, “My Doorbell†reminds the listener of Elton John, or 50’s style piano rock n roll. It features only Jack playing the piano, and Meg playing the drums. The song has a feeling of fun to it, which the last two songs didn’t have. Unfortunately, it’s rather repetitive, which drags down the song. It’s just an average song.

“Forever for Her is Over for Me†is a sort of strange, country-ish ballad. It’s a particularly perky ballad, though. It sounds rather grandiose at times, and overall is a very good song. The chord progression is great, and near the end of the song, there is some terrific piano work from Jack.

“Little Ghost†features both Jack and Meg singing. It is a pure bluegrass song. It’s very different from anything else the band has done. The only problem is that the song doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s worth listening to just for its uniqueness, though.

“The Denial Twist†is one of the highlights of the album. It’s similar to “My Doorbell†in that it sounds very much like Elton John, and Meg White’s explosive, yet minimal drumming gives it that special White Stripes flavour. It’s different from “My Doorbell†though, because it keeps the listener entertained throughout the song. The chord progression is great.

“White Moon†is one of the true ballads of the album. It’s about an old film star named Rita Hayworth. Jack White’s voice goes with the song perfectly, and changes depending on the mood of the music really well in this song. It’s a very sad song, up until the abrupt ending.

“Instinct Blues†is the only blues song on the album. The guitar work from Jack is really good, even if the recording technology on the voice is really fuzzy and tinny. It really sounds like those old slow blues, except with lots and lots of distortion and feedback. This reminds the listener of a lot of the bluesy material off “De Stijl.†The only problems with this song are the many stops in the song. Some of them work out well, but others just take away from the song.

“Passive Manipulation†is a 30 second song featuring Meg doing vocals. “Women, listen to your mothers, don’t succumb to the wishes of your brothers, take a step back take a look at one another, you need to know the difference between a father and a lover†is repeated throughout the song. It’s quite a creepy song, with its lyrics, if taken literally, suggesting incest. Of course, they mean brothers and fathers as in other men, but the lyrics are eerie nonetheless.

“Take, Take, Take†is country-western sounding. It is also the second song on the album about Rita Hayworth. The chorus has a different mood than the verses, it has a hint of classical music. The song is a little bland.

“As Ugly As I Seem†is a very pretty folk song. It’s different than most Stripes folk songs, which usually have a country folk feel to them. This one is more indie folk. The background bongo drums give it a cool beatnik feel to it. This is one of the highlights of the album. Jack has some really good guitar work on this song.

“Red Rain†is one of the only songs on the album that sounds like older White Stripes stuff. It begins with a strange, smooth, slide guitar riff, and the same riff played on bells. The verses sound really meandering and indirect, but in a good way, and every once in a while, it gets really direct, and heavy. The chorus is pretty heavy, and sounds like what the Stripes played on their last few albums, especially White Blood Cells and Elephant. The guitar on this song is great. This song is another highlight of the album.

The finale, “I’m Lonely (but I aint that lonely yet),†is a soft, quiet ballad. The melody is taken from just about any country ballad you’ve heard. Jack does some great work on the piano in this song. The song, particularly Jack’s voice, gets quieter, and sadder through the whole song. Like most Stripes albums, they decided to end the album not with a bang, but by sort of fading away.

This album gets an 8/10, overall. Perhaps in the future, we will look back on this album, and see it as a transitional album for the Stripes. But for now, it’s just a step lower than Elephant, in my eyes.

Edited by Guest
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That review is a little long, so here's a summary: This album is different from anything else the Stripes have done. I picked up this CD expecting some blistering blues rock, and was a little dissapointed when it was quiet. After a few listens, I put away my biases and was able to really enjoy this diverse album.

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I also like this album. On "White Blood Cells" there are some screechers that I can't stand, but this one is a much better listen.

There is one song where a phone rings out of nowhere. My friend thinks it probably went off unintentionally while they were recording and they just left it in. After a few listens, I'm starting to agree.

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I also like this album. On "White Blood Cells" there are some screechers that I can't stand, but this one is a much better listen.

There is one song where a phone rings out of nowhere. My friend thinks it probably went off unintentionally while they were recording and they just left it in. After a few listens, I'm starting to agree.

Yeah, in fact, I think I read at this very site (but I'm not sure) that they recorded it in Jack's house. So maybe that's what happened. What song is that?

I used to like White Blood Cells better, but I think I like this one better overall. I think the reason I rated it so highly is because it has the song "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" which in my opinion, has the best riff of the 00's.

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