Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The White Stripes

*sigh* So, like today I was tweeting and stuff, and I kept seeing people tweeting about the White Stripes on my timeline, but I really didn't stop to investigate. But it wasn't until I left home and was on my way out that I saw the words "In memoriam..." included in the tweets. That sorta jolted me awake, leaving me in a semi-panic. A quick google search and my worst fears had come true- the White Stripes had disbanded. *sigh*

Now, I know the White Stripes have nothing to do with fashion, really (outside of the fact that Jack is married to supermodel Karen Elson) but music is very important to me, moreso than even fashion (yes I said it) and the White Stripes is one of my fave bands of all-time. The first record I bought from them was Elephant. People always gripe that the Grammys are a big joke, and while there's some truth to that, their influence can't be denied. I bought Elephant because it was nominated for Album of the Year that year. I figured, it's not like i'm unfamiliar with the band, plus it did get some good reviews, so why not? Sure, i'd always watch their videos on MTV2 and stuff, but I never really got into them before that. Suffice it to say, they became my heroes. I listened to that album almost every day after I bought it, and since then I bought everything they released after that.

There was something so innocent and primal, yet all-encompassing and classic about their music that it's hard to not see all their records as breakthroughs for indie and rock music over the last decade. Merging blues, country, punk and garage rock into one heady brew, their music sounded like nothing on the radio on or television at the time.

Say what you want about Meg's epileptic drumming, theirs was the sound of two lovers of music who took some instruments up, and without the gloss of MTV (though certainly that's where they ended up) brought music back to a time of true creativity and experimentation. They won Grammys and had gold and platinum albums, so to even say they were obscure isn't true- this was a band that was embraced by the mainstream as well as the Pitchfork crowd. And certainly embraced by me. I was near tears when I read the news, as this was a band I literally grew up. There's a certain attachment that one feels not just to someone you like listening to, but over the course of 3 or 4 albums, this was a band I rabidly followed- I remember buying albums like Icky Thump and Get Behind Me Satan the week they came out. I remember the shock I felt when the latter had incorporated the marimba and and piano. Heck, I remember the shock their entire fanbase felt! But this was a band who grew from album to album; as much as it was just the two of them, and they really tried to stay within their red, black and white confines, over the years they expanded their sound, always making it sound bigger than the sum of their parts.

As I write this, i'm listening "One More Cup of Coffee", the perfect goodbye song I think, in this circumstance. I hope somewhere down the future they'll re-band, if even for a tour (i've never seen them live) but I may only be thinking wishfully. In any case, they've left behind music that will stand the test of time, and i'll forever love them for that. Long live the White Stripes!

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