So the White Stripes officially announced their breakup today. You are understandably depressed. Not shocked or devastated, probably — they hadn’t put out a record in four years, nor toured in about as long, nor generally much resembled an active band. And yet it’s now time to regard the staggering back catalog they left behind, and lament that they won’t be adding to it anytime soon. Here are 10 songs to get you started.
“Ball and Biscuit”
As previously mentioned, this is absolutely as vicious as it gets, guitar-solo-wise, in the Internet age. For some reason when I listen to this song I imagine the members of Maroon 5 assembled on the side of the stage, weeping and chastened.
The ’90s had their own iconic Dolly Parton cover; this was the ‘aughts’ worthy follow-up, every bit as histrionic, melodramatic, heartbreaking, unstoppable. The inevitable Jack White/Dolly Parton album (spring 2015) will be super intense.
“I’m Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman”
One of their better song titles, riff-as-chorus monstrosities, and kiss-off anthems: “Have a doctor come and visit us/And tell us which one is sane” should be crocheted and hung in every family room. Also: “Maybe it’s whatever’s in my hand/That’s distracting me.”
It was fun to listen to this sing-song bit of slide-guitar nonsense in 2000 (“When I get you home/This is how it goes/I wanna preach the word/I wanna preach to birds”), before anyone realized this was about to take over the world. Start playing this in a Sam Ashe and they are legally obligated to give you the guitar for free.
“We’re Going to Be Friends”
They could be awfully, awfully sweet, when they wanted to be. Shout-out to Napoleon Dynamite.
They could also be awfully goofy. When they inevitably reunite, their first release should be a childrens’ album.
“Seven Nation Army”
You will hear this riff played by every marching band during every college football game you watch into perpetuity, and you will be glad.
“The Big Three Killed My Baby”
From their self-titled 1999 debut; allegedly that’s the Big Three as in Ford/GM/Chrysler, upon whom revenge was soon visited. Also: live in Union Square!
“Catch Hell Blues”
A startling, surly blues riff snuck onto the second-to-last song on their last album, 2007’s Icky Thump, cementing their status as the only credible modern-rock band to use the “_______ Blues” construction.
And here we have the final scene from 2009 doc Under Great White Northern Lights, in which Jack sings and plays piano while Meg . . . cries. Whoever writes the tell-all biography on this band had better crush it so hard.