Wednesday, March 10, 2010

21. “The Denial Twist” by The White Stripes (2005)

Without thinking too much about it, I have been lumping Jack White, Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst together as three of the decade’s best and most prolific songwriters. Oddly, it is Jack White -- the one who has made the loudest, most abrasive music of the three -- that has become the most commercially successful and universally beloved. It is strange that the punky “Fell In Love With a Girl” and the bass-heavy “Seven Nation Army” – unconventional songs as it relates to what is now considered “mainstream” -- were their breakthrough hits, but that probably speaks more to the fact that The White Stripes’ music was the easiest to bridge into a commercially popular genre -- after all, hard rock radio stations actually still exist in some markets. So while Adams and Oberst have a ton in common, White does seem like the one that doesn’t belong of this grouping. But the reason I’ve lumped them together is because they have all sort of separated themselves from the unprecedented heap of albums and songs released this decade in both quantity and quality. While White is likely the least polarizing of the three, I mention them in the same breath because of their final output over the last ten years.

That’s not to discount all of the actual bands on this list, all of whom have done more than just release a few great songs. Hell, bands like Spoon, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and Camera Obscura, to name a few, were not even included in this Top 100 even though all of those groups are all personal favorites. The point being that rather than justifying my ranking as “this band is better than the other band”, the top 100 list seeks to put it all out there, in one playlist, for everyone to consume and enjoy and argue about. So lumping White, Oberst and Adams together is only natural because it’s three guys basically doing it on their own, with varying supporting casts depending on the record. In the end, all three of these guys has released album after album, great song after great song, year after year, at a similar pace to what we saw with The Stones, Beatles and Dylan in the 60s. We never waited longer than 18 months to hear anything new from either of these three and in almost every case, it was something worthy of your time and money.

To my main point above, there doesn’t seem to be much to say about Jack and Meg White that hasn’t been said already. People love Meg for what she is but Jack is the one that gets the guitar god / genius / legend treatment, and rightfully so. Whether it’s with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or The Dead Meadow, Jack has killed it.

Once again, it’s impossible to choose amongst Jack’s hits – “Seven Nation Army” or “Hotel Yorba”; “Fell In Love With a Girl” or “Icky Thump”; “My Doorbell” or “There’s No Home For You Here”? The list goes on and on, but I settled on something that had a little bit of everything and if you like to rock, you will not be able to deny “The Denial Twist”. Check it.

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