Well, they’re gone, they’re kaput, they are no more, but oh the memories, oh the music. I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to spend the rest of this post drooling like a bull terrier over these AWESOME tracks.
What is astro? A drug? A dance? A trainer? Maybe it’s the slang term for “astro-turf”, a cool alternative to weed that David Bowie and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses enjoy to toke? Honestly, I have no idea. But I want some. And so does Tesla, apparently. From their oft forgotten debut, this song is as raw as a fresh grown carrot.
The only cover to make the list out of their countless classic re-interpretations, and also the only song not belonging to any album. Yet it is a live favourite, with Jack’s strained appeals really giving the heart strings a ruddy good yanking. Powerful stuff.
Oh my god, De Stijl! What an album! Jack is utterly in his element when he’s wanging his slide up and down his black-and-blue fretboard, and this song is the pick of an incredible bunch. Bleak, it’s true, but nonetheless brilliant.
Although these 10 songs might not show it, I do love a bit of mellow White Stripes. It’s in songs like this, as well as ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’ and ‘I Wanna Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart’, that Jack’s song-writing jumps to the fore. You really feel for him in this song, as he struggles to protect his girlfriend, who’s “stare is louder than her voice”, from the vicious people circling her.
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
A John Peel favourite and no wonder why. Such solid, simple and effective riffing, strutted out by Jack with real purpose. There’s also more lyrical genius from Jack, and I don’t band that term around willy-nilly. It’s songs like this that kid me into thinking song-writing is a breeze. Uncomplicated chords, simple spot-on lyrics and effortless swagger. That’s all it takes. But few nail this formula as consistently as The White Stripes.
Offend in Every Way
Joining The White Stripes bandwagon ashamedly late, this was one of the first songs that captured my imagination. There is such a satisfying, well-rounded quality to the riffs in this song and, once again, stupendous lyrics.
My personal favourite. It’s amazing to think it’s only 3 minutes long, considering the amount of sheer invention Jack manages to cram into this minuscule time-frame. The charging no-holds-barred riff, the pinpoint originality of the lyrics even when singing about such unoriginal topics as a relationship break-up, and then the most downright preposterous of instrumental interludes, as he assaults and hacks at his guitar like a lunatic let loose on the world. Enthralling.
Ball and Biscuit
The track most will turn to when asked to sum up The White Stripes phenomenon, this epic, EPIC song is a staggeringly outrageous set-piece of guitar bashing arrogance, with each nonsensical solo somehow eclipsing the one that came before it.
Take, Take, Take
‘Get Behind Me Satan’ was an intriguing change of pace for The White Stripes. Jack’s story of a besotted, and rather crazed, fan is immaculately told and wonderfully witty. I was feeling pretty rough this morning, I put this song on, and that was all that I needed.
Rag and Bone
In a word? Hilarious. Listening to this song is a laugh-riot every time, as an excited, barely containable Jack attempts to snatch gramophones, broken trumpets, and even ice cream cones, from under the noses of unsuspecting grannies and citizens galore. Top marks for inventiveness on this gem.
Oh, and Meg White is DEFINITELY hot.