Show day, folks! Tonight I’ll be heading to the Cunard Centre to check out the band’s sold-out concert before catching my ride to Glace Bay first thing tomorrow morning. But first, our final list of the week. The problem with a top-five albums list from a band that only has six of them is that inevitably one has to be left off. I struggled with this for a while, because I think the band’s self-titled debut might be equal or better to an album or two on this list, but ultimately decided that it’s less interesting and is surpassed in its ambitions by other records. So onwards to the rest!
5.Get Behind Me Satan
The band’s 2005 album has become sort of a neglected dark child in their discography, but for me its charms far outweigh its drawbacks. I love that Jack had a piano album in his system, with the album’s best tracks relying on 88 keys instead of six strings. In fact, it’s songs like “Red Rain” and “Instinct Blues” which seem redundant in comparison. One of their more inconsistent records, but by far one of the most interesting.
In my opinion, the band’s most overrated album. It seems that the mainstream press was so eager to crowd someone as the new leaders of rock and roll that they jumped all over each other to praise Elephant as a masterpiece. A masterpiece it is not, but a solid album nonetheless, with some distinct highlights beyond the big singles. The best stuff comes during the album’s second half, where it’s just one little toss-off masterpiece after another.
3. Icky Thump
Perhaps it’s a bit too soon to put the band’s latest so high on this list, but I’m feeling pretty good about how it’s going to hold up with time. It sounds like a great amalgam of everything the band has done before, with a few new twists to the mix at the same time. More importantly, it’s probably the most the band has rocked out since they broke through to the mainstream. You can read my full review of the Thump here.
2. De Stiji
If you’re one of the many fans who first heard of the band with White Blood Cells, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of its predecessor. Containing some of the band’s best and rawest songs like “Apple Blossom,” “Death Letter,” and “Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me,” it’s the album where the Stripes fully embraced their blues and folk influences and started to find the sound that they’ve become famous for.
1. White Blood Cells
If you’re looking for an easy answer for why White Blood Cells tops this list, how’s this: I seriously considered propagating my “best singles” list entirely with content from this album. It includes some of the biggest undeniable highlights in the band’s career, but also some of its best oddities and toss-off tracks. To me, it’s the record where the Stripes formula came together at its richest and most full, providing the best 40 recorded minutes of the band’s career.