The White Stripes

Get Behind Me Satan

[5] If White Blood Cells and Elephant were key recordings in acclimating mainstream America to the concept of “raw,” then the White Stripes’ latest will revitalize the concept of the album as a body of work, and not just a buffet for selective downloading. Jack White leaves his electric guitar unplugged for much of Get Behind Me Satan, focusing on the acoustic (guitar, tuned percussion and piano) to frame his musings on love, life, trust and betrayal, while conjuring hints of Death From Above 1979 (“Blue Orchid”), downtown Appalachia (“Little Ghost”), Robert Plant (“As Ugly As I Seem”) and the Rolling Stones (“Take, Take, Take”). On a track-by-track basis, there are Stripes classics (“Instinct Blues,” “The Nurse”), some misfires (“White Moon”) and some fluff (“Passive Manipulation”). But taken as a whole, Get Behind is remarkably cohesive, conjuring those heady days when freeform FM-rock stations were prevalent and “ambition” was not a synonym for “pretension.” This reviewer is still not sure what enhances the listening experience better: the continuous play of the CD medium, or the ritual of getting up to change sides on the vinyl. (Third Man/V2)-Jason Pettigrew