Jack White's second full-length, Lazaretto, is now available to stream. Listen to the entire album above.
The album opens with "Three Women," complete with a catchy guitar-riff-turned-piano melody. The track is classic, high-energy Jack White as he repeats "lawdy lawd" throughout the whole thing.
The titular track, "Lazaretto," is the prime exhibition of White's confident delivery. He sings the woes of an outcast thrown "down in the lazaretto," which is actually a place used to quarantine the ill. We get a taste of the fiddle before it continues on in the sweeping "Temporary Ground." Like sweet relief, it's a much softer track that tickles your ears and features vocals from Lillie Mae Rische.
The memorable instrumental "High Ball Stepper" begins with a shrieking guitar lick that leads into a jangly piano bit. It's a refreshing break from lyrics -- just straight guitars, drums, and interludes of keys.
"Just One Drink" sounds like it could be a Stones cover. This is pure Jack White, however, and due to his unique and memorable vocals, he's hard to mistake for anyone else. Here is where he triumphs.
"Want and Able" is a story that borrows Biblical themes and sounds like it could've been a cut from Get Behind Me Satan, the perceived in-betweener of White Stripes albums that happens to be one of their most experimental and daring projects. It's simple and good.
In an interview with NPR, he credited his dug-up adolescent writings as the inspiration for the album's lyrical content, but at times this feels hard to believe. As White has gotten older, he may have lost some of his earnestness along with his compassion (considering the recent feud with The Black Keys and his bashing of other artists). His solo work is much more thought out than the honest-to-goodness nature of The White Stripes, but we can't expect him not to change. There are times where this album resonates like a bitter old guy whining about what's wrong with kids today (particularly in "Entitled"), but at the end of the day, it's not like he hasn't made some valid points.
Overall, Lazaretto proves to be a well-done follow-up to his debut, Blunderbuss. As big as he has become, White's signature blues rock will always try to stay on the outskirts of mainstream. Maybe he does best to stay there.
Larzaretto will officially drop on June 10th on White's own Third Man Records. Pre-order it on Amazon. You can also order the truly decked-out deluxe edition. For more Jack White news and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.