Jack White’s Angsty, Exuberant “Lazaretto”


Jack White
Lazaretto
Third Man/Columbia

He may be in his late thirties, but Jack White continues to display a callow, almost cartoonish exuberance on his second solo album. The same giddy energy that informed his tenure leading the White Stripes, when he often evoked the buoyant excesses of Led Zeppelin in a smaller format, is still present here, but the textures are more varied and satisfying. Flavored by tasty dollops of pedal steel, Hammond B3 organ, fiddle, synth and the like, the consistently engaging Lazaretto hopscotches eagerly from blues to country to hard rock, with White’s arresting man-on-fire vocals always front and center. For all his obvious pleasure at being able to make a racket, however, there’s also a strain of existential angst: “All the creatures have it hard now. Nothing but God is left to know. And why he left us all here hanging. With an illusion of a home,” White sings on “Temporary Ground,” suggesting bad times to come.

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