The White Stripes - Elephant (2xLP Vinyl)

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Featuring the song that took over the world, "Seven Nation Army", now a stadium chant known around the world by football and soccer fans alike. Dun dun dun dun dun duuun dun... Cut from the original 1/4" master tapes, pressed on two glorious 180-gram LPs, this record is ready to be displayed in a place of prominence in your domicile or museum. Jokingly referred to as the White Stripes' "British" album, Elephant is scattered with little cultural references that give away the fact it was recorded far from the duo's US home--just listen to the lyrics on "Seven Nation Army" ("..from the Queen of England to the hounds of Hell") or the album outro where someone chips in "jolly good, cup of tea?". But although there are some new twists here, from Meg discovering her voice to a tongue-in-cheek threesome with Holly Golightly, Elephant is no great departure; more a culmination of their preceding albums. Meg and Jack push their creativity (and the boundaries of their eight track) to new heights for the startling, Queen-inspired "There's No Home for You Here" while the (pedal-induced) deep bassline on "Seven Nation Army" is a classic indie dancefloor filler. But although some songs fly off into new realms there's plenty of that straight-up bluesy rock that makes the duo such an amazing prospect live--just listen to the sweat dripping off the overtly sexual "Ball and Biscuit". And amid all this there's that plaintive, resolutely unegotistical and yet theatrical voice that makes them so unique; when Jack cries out on "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself" there's a dark desperation Bacharach and David certainly didn't put there.

Ten years ago, I was using listen-to because it was cooler than Audioscrobbler, and I was in a competition with a friend over who could listen to two bands more: The White Stripes and At the Drive-In. Ten years later and I barely listen to rock music anymore, but man is it fun to go back to the great ones from time to time. Anyone that refuses to get hyperbolic about "Ball and Biscuit" just isn't down. In terms of artist discographies you couldn't really ask for a much better album than Elephant, either. It's essentially a greatest hits album without trying, showing every side of the band you'd learned to expect and would soon learn to live with. It's got arguably their two biggest radio singles, Jack White's defining solo work, the twee Napoleon Dynamite stuff, blues and empty garages - Elephant is the White Stripes as big and powerful as they ever would be. To me, that's a glorious thing.

By: Nodima

A1 Seven Nation Army
A2 Black Math
A3 There's No Home For You Here
B1 I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
B2 In The Cold, Cold, Night
B3 I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart
B4 You've Got Her In Your Pocket
C1 Ball And Biscuit
C2 The Hardest Button To Button
C3 Little Acorns
D1 Hypnotize
D2 The Air Near My Fingers
D3 Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine
D4 It's True That We Love One Another

Recorded to eight track reel-to-reel at Toe-Rag Studios, Hackney, London in April 2002, except B1 recorded at the BBC Maida Vale Studios.