By Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator
Four months into 2022, and it’s already proving to be Jack White’s most ambitious year yet. The singer-songwriter, notorious as half of the husband-wife duo The White Stripes until their 2011 split, made a promise that he would put out two full-length albums this year — and so far, he’s delivered.
White put out the first of the two LPs, Fear of the Dawn, on April 8th. Wrought with layer upon layer of sometimes-screamy vocals, distorted, metal guitars, video game-esque electronics and heavy-handed drums, the album is abrasive in a way that few artists can get away with.
From the lyrics to the sonic elements, where the first LP represents an unrelenting sense of heaviness, the next one appears to trade it in for something much less weighty. None of the three singles released so far represent this gentle sound so much as “Love is Selfish.”
DIVING INTO THE SOUND OF “LOVE IS SELFISH”
Where White’s latest album sees an elaborate, yet still predominantly one-man, production, “Love is Selfish” gives more of a nod to White’s garage-rock roots. Hearing his distinctive vocals against warm-toned acoustic guitar melodies, it’s hard not to be reminded of early White Stripes hits like “We Are Going To Be Friends.”
The song radiates an endearing simplicity. It seems fit for a soft moment in a movie soundtrack in some ways. Small touches of shuffled drums are perhaps responsible for giving it this cinematic pull.
The recording style also possesses a more vintage sound. This same quality is evoked while listening to other artists on White’s label Third Man Records, from Natalie Bergman to Starcrawler to Broken Social Scene.
BREAKING DOWN THE LYRICS AND MUSIC VIDEO
The lyrics and music video to “Love is Selfish” seem to indirectly confront a similar fear of ending up alone.
In the self-directed visual, White is performing in a completely empty American Legion. The lights are off and White sits at the bar for a drink and walks about. He’s looking for a way out but never quite makes it through the glowing “Exit-signed” marked doorway that looms just in front of him at the video’s end.
The lyrics to “Love is Selfish” see White personify his love as something outside of himself, something “always trying to mess up all [his] plans.” He sings of fruitless attempts to overcome his fears surrounding it. And despite being devoid of anecdotal details, the lyrics offer a striking vulnerability in these simple admissions. “I try my best to help you understand,” he repeats and ends the song with.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR JACK WHITE?
“Love is Selfish” comes off of Jack White’s upcoming fifth studio album, Entering Heaven Alive. The entire LP is set to drop in full on July 22nd of this year.
His current tour has already gotten off to an eccentric start. At a hometown show at the Masonic Temple Theater in Detroit, White proposed to his girlfriend Olivia Jean on stage during the encore, and then an officiator joined and wed the two just moments later. The happenings went down during a performance of 2001 White Stripe’s song “Hotel Yorba,” which features the lyric “Let’s get married in a big cathedral by a priest.”
There’s no telling what the rest of the tour will be like as White has plans to continue to traverse North America and parts of Europe. His most recent show was locally at Agganis Arena in Boston on April 17th with Men I Trust.
Every Monday, our music staff brings you a new Pick of The Week, detailing some of our favorite songs. Check out our previous Picks of the Week here, and make sure to tune in to WERS 88.9FM!