Oh what it must be like to be Jack White. The former upholsterer has come a long way since the disbanding of the duo The White Stripes and the release of his second solo album Lazaretto (on his own Third Man Records). Along the journey from point A to point B, White has explored a variety of genres and bands including The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather (where he abandoned his trademark Airline guitars to sit behind the drum kit). Lazaretto is his 45th record production making White possess the complete package for a successful career on his own terms.
Ironically, through all his accomplishments in recent years the 38 year old went back to stories and poems he had written(and recently found tucked away in storage) when he was at the end of his teens, to develop the foundation for what would comprise Lazaretto's eleven eclectic tracks. White, known for making records quickly (including instant records on his Third Man phonograph recording booth) took his time on this set by slowly developing the bits and pieces of his earlier creativity into a mixed variety of elements aptly described on his website:
"Over a year and a half in the making (this is by far the longest White has ever worked on an album) the music is stormy, delicate, dramatic, volatile, scratchy, and velveteen"
There is one cover of a song written by the legendary Blind Willie McTell (Three Women), whose own recordings were a huge influence on White's interpretation of early 20th century blues. "Lazaretto", the title track, was confirmed as the album's first single. White recently explained the song's meaning to NPR: "This was a rhyme about the braggadocio of some hip-hop lyrics — the bragging about oneself in hip-hop music. The character who's singing this song is bragging about himself, but he's actually bragging about real things he's actually accomplished and real things that he actually does, not imaginary things or things he would like to do."
That description of accomplishment is the core of what it must be like to be Jack White. Whether forging a catalog of the reinvention of American blues and rock and roll, producing other artists' records or even acting in films, there is plenty of reason to brag, but fortunately for music lovers, White prefers to let his wizardry and Willie Wonka alchemy do the talking for him.