‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’ is a song often picked out as a highlight when The White Stripes play live. This album is picked out as something resembling their masterpiece and a savior of modern music. But, wait! It sounds exactly like their last album! It sounds not a million miles away from their debut, either! Were those records acclaimed as saviors of modern music? No, because nobody knew who The White Stripes were, and nobody much cared either. Perhaps they’ve simply ‘come into fashion’? In any case, ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’ is just a little too simplistic to be taken very seriously. It’s not bad exactly, just repetition. ‘Hotel Yorba’ is incredibly simplistic with its ‘one two three four’ lyric an attempt at writing a pop song. It sounds so ridiculous it actually works quite well if only as a harmless piece of fun. ‘I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman’ whilst still nothing new is at least decent, but only in the sense of sounding raw and on the edge. The hit ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ follows and yeah, its pretty fine. ‘Little Room’ offers welcome respite, ditching Jack White’s sometimes grating guitar sound. ‘Little Room’ like the following song ‘The Union Forever’, offers intriguing lyrics – something a little meatier to get hold of. The second side of the album develops a little both in writing and sound. ‘The Same Boy You’ve Always Known’ features a nice vocal, good angry shouted parts and a more developed structure. ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’ is just a sheer delight, simple lyrics this time, almost nursery rhyme – but they suit the folk style guitar picking, which incidentally is welcome as sonic variation.
The next few songs that follow don’t add to this, the album, or their career – being re-treads of what they’ve done before, and not better one’s either. ‘I Can’t Wait’ just explodes though, and offers some interesting lyrics. The closing ‘This Protector’ is piano led and all the more enticing because of it. A decent enough album, but I did ask myself a question this point: Can they do it again? Can they make the same album using the same formula again? Would it even be wise?