Blunderbuss

 
(i)

 

Powerful solo effort relates violence to emotional pain.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jack White's Blunderbuss offers little in the way of uplifting feelings or ideas. White, an individualist who takes an irreverent approach to music making, writes dreamlike lyrics that use violence as a metaphor for emotional pain.

Positive role models

Whereas the characters in White's songs seem angry, alone, as an artist, White sets a powerful example for budding musicians. He shuns conventional ideas about publicity and fame in favor of a purist attitude about music for art's sake. White makes an excellent contrast to celebrities who cater to current musical trends.

Violence

Jack White's lyrics are poetic and often dreamlike; there are no clearly violent situations, but there are violent images: "Missing Pieces" has someone's nose bleeding. "Freedom at 21" says, "Cut off the bottoms of my feet/Make me walk on salt/Take me down to the police/Charge me with assault"; there's also a line about "black gashes in her hands." The single "Love Interruption" has images of a knife twisting and a door slamming on fingers, as well as the line, "I want love to murder my own mother." "Weep Themselves to Sleep" has "the knives of brains that mean to kill them." In "Take Me With You When You Go," there's an image of someone who can't catch their breath, as if they were being strangled.

Sex

A few songs mention kissing or touching. In "Sixteen Saltines," the singer is jealous that "a boy just might be getting through and touching you." The title track says, "I laid you down and touched you."

Language

"Love Interruption," "On and On" and "Hypocritical Kiss" use "hell." "Trash Tongue Talker" has one line with "bastard" and one with "ass."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Sixteen Saltines" mentions drinking: "...she's gonna sit and drink up a few/I'm sure she's drinkin' two."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Blunderbuss is the first solo album from Jack White, who also performs as part of the White Stripes and Raconteurs. Debuting at Number One on Billboard's album chart, Blunderbuss was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. The album features crashing drums, '70s rock guitars and melodious keyboards, as well as White's plaintive voice on poetic songs that seem dreamlike but full of pain. White uses foul language ("ass," "hell," "bastard") in a few songs, and a couple of tame references to sex (touching, kissing). His use of violent imagery -- a metaphor for emotional suffering -- can be disturbing, especially on the single "Love Interruption," which repeatedly combines the phrase "I want love to" with violent acts: "I want love to murder my own mother." Also note that "Blunderbuss" mentions a "man in drag."

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What's the story?

BLUNDERBUSS is the first solo album from Jack White, who's also associated with the White Stripes and Raconteurs. White produced and wrote almost all of the material on the album (with the exception of a cover of Little Willie John's "I'm Shakin'), which debuted at Number One on Billboard's album chart and was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. Three singles from this album also charted: "Sixteen Saltines," "Freedom at 21" and "Love Interruption." Musically, the release combines crashing drums, '70s rock guitars, fine acoustic playing, and melodious keyboards, as well as White's plaintive singing on poetic songs that frequently use physical violence as a metaphor for emotional suffering.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Jack White's irreverent approach to music making appeals on so many levels, beyond the shock value of a song like "Love Interruption" that persists in pairing tenderness with extreme violence. The kind of fist-pumping guitar-god rock of "Sixteen Saltines" has been riveting teens since the '60s, while the folk-jazz beauty of the title track is complex and deeply emotional. It's not a huge stretch to say that Blunderbuss resembles a lost Led Zeppelin record, and it's no surprise that teens and their parents are into it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Jack White is writing about physical or emotional pain in the song "Freedom at 21," for example.

  • Jack White gives few interviews and seems to disdain celebrity. Do you think his attitude about self-promotion helps or hurts his success?

  • Why do you think "Love Interruption" mentions "love" doing so many violent things?

Music details

Artist:Jack White
Release date:April 24, 2012
Type:Album
Label:Third Man
Genre:Alternative Rock
Topics:Friendship
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of Blunderbuss was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bytaralovescory September 30, 2013
 

Very good album for teens and up

This is a very good album for alt-rock fans who are teens and up. I think younger kids shouldnt be listening to this album because of the language and violent imagery, but if ur 13+ you should really check it out
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old January 10, 2013
 

Jack White

I love this album! My favourite songs are "Sixteen Saltines", "Freedom at 21" and "Blunderbuss". A few mild swear words but otherwise amazing!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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