Generalissimo Alberto: When you think about it, the early Jack White is like reading the wise poetry of King David…
LegendaryMonkey: Al, are you out your tree, boy? ‘Cause you are surely not in mine.
GA: The Psalms, Monkey, the music of the wise philosopher-king in training.
LM: You were only supposed to get ONE of the blue ones, weren’t you? You told me you were supposed to get two, but that wasn’t quite true, was it Generalissimo Alberto Limbaugh?
GA: Look, you do NOT want me undermedicated.
LM: Two can play at that crazy game there, Generalissimo. I’ve got some scripture for Jack, from the Song of Solomon, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”
GA: Stop with your whoredoms, woman. I gots your Song of Solomon, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats” Now, let’s get down to business, explaining the classic “Apple Blossom.”
LM: No one understands the purity of lust around here. I’ll just got sit in my tree and let him vent for a bit, but I’m keeping those pills with me… ’cause you ain’t trustworthy, Alberto.
De Stijl, 2000
GA: You could definitely see Ray Davies’ DNA in the White Stripes. As Jack and Meg’s first album had a good bit of that hard pop embryonic Kinks sound, you can hear on this cut from the White Stripes’ second album the next stage of the Kinks early development.
Call this garage baroque style, if you will. Both songwriters are expanding the length and complexity of their melody lines. They’re also broadening the arrangement palettes a little bit, tending toward unusual experimental sound textures within fairly simple garage band auspices.
“Dead End Street” from 1966 would be a relatively close model for “Apple Blossom” stylistically. The combination of dominant piano and acoustic guitar, and the harpsichords, something sounding that way.
Jack got a pretty good texture out of acoustic guitar rhythms surrendering to a piano in the first chorus, joining them together from the midway point
The lyric is ultimately a marriage invitation- or more a quiet commandment. Jack’s gentle but manly taking of command shows the emergence of his poetic voice. “Put your troubles in a little pile, and I will sort them out for you.”
Hey little apple blossom
what seems to be the problem
all the ones you tell your troubles to
they don’t really care for you
Come and sit with me and talk awhile
let me see your pretty little smile
put your troubles in a little pile
and i will sort them out for you
I’ll fall in love with you
I think I’ll marry you
LM: See, I think you have to go back a few years earlier to really dig on this one, to 1963 and the beginning of Beatlemania. Whereas “You’re Pretty Good Looking” is straight up homage to The Kinks, this one is all about the Beatles. The White Stripes are, with De Stijl, playing up to the two foundations of modern rock — Britpop and the blues.
The album is named for a Dutch-inspired era in art that celebrated the essentials of form and color, and this album is about the essentials of rock. And the songs are split pretty evenly between heavy blues (including some covers) and good old pop-rock from the 1960s. It’s a celebration of what makes modern music good, in the vein of the artistic movement of the same name.
It’s clever, and what’s more, it’s good, and it’s complete. Even the lyrics hearken back to a simpler time, and we want to go there with them and enjoy it.
And we’d like all of you to come along as well — to WHITE STRIPES NATION!
LegendaryMonkey Alisha Karabinus provides the inner voice of sweet reason for evolved primates at Sudden Nothing.
Al Barger plots the overthrow of the government and his continuing crusade for Moorish dignity at More Things.