The White Stripes were officially calling it quits. Considering that they hadn't put out an album since 2007, and that Jack White has had about 25,000 "side" projects with various bands and producing gigs over the last few years, one can hardly be shocked by this announcement. I did, however, feel a twinge of sadness upon reading this news.
I will always remember exactly where I was when I first heard The White Stripes. It was spring of 2002 and I had just moved to Toronto. I was driving around the west end, completely lost, when I heard "Fell in Love With a Girl" on the radio. Holy crap! What is this? Love at first listen.
I then read in Rolling Stone and Spin about how all of the "The" bands (The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Vines and The Hives, I wrote about this in March 2009) were supposed to "save" rock and roll, like rock needed saving. The White Stripes were really the only ones of this bunch to achieve significant commercial success. And despite Jack White being a totally weird dude, I was completely enamored with his brand of stripped-down, blues-based rock, especially on the first three albums.
Although a lot of critics cite Elephant as their best work (it won a fucking Grammy for Best Alternative Album), White Blood Cells will always remain my main White Stripes love. My friends and I would sing along to the entire album - from the folk-pop "Hotel Yorba" to the "Union Forever," who's lyrics are taken entirely from Citizen Kane lines, to the sweet "We're Going to Be Friends," to the awesome garage-punk of "Fell in Love With a Girl." My buddy Vic would play guitar and I would try to sing along to "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground." The White Stripes did "Dead Leaves" and "We're Going to be Friends" that fall on Saturday Night Live. John fucking McCain was the host.
As the they posted on their web site: "The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful."
Thanks for the music Jack and Meg. Can't wait to see what you do next.
The Big Three Killed My Baby.mp3
Buy: The White Stripes (1999)
Why Can't You Be Nicer to Me?.mp3
Buy: De Stijl (2000)
Fell in Love With a Girl.mp3
Buy: White Blood Cells (2001)