From the moment they were embraced by the mainstream, Jack and Meg White, a.k.a. the White Stripes, were dumbfounded that the same crowds that champion Britney Spears and J. Lo could also be enamored with a quirky, minimalist blues-punk band.
These days, as dismissive as they continue to be toward the media, it’s obvious the White Stripes are happy about the love they’re being shown. Let’s face it, things could always be worse — they could be ignored, or worse yet, forgotten — by their legions. This might explain why they decided to name their upcoming album Elephant, because elephants never forget. Then again, that would mean they see their fans as huge, gray, wrinkly creatures with long, powerful trunks. So maybe it’s a good thing the pair named the album after themselves.
“The elephant is a creature that represents both me and Meg’s personalities,” said Jack. “It was the two of us in one creature. Elephants are powerful and majestic, but also subtle and innocent, angry and clumsy. It just seemed like all these different characteristics were either one of us.”
The album comes out April 1, a week earlier than previously planned. Like the first three White Stripes discs, the 14 tracks are, fundamentally, a combination of Zeppelin-eque rock, irreverent punk and Delta blues. However, the band expands its palette this time around, delving into spoken word performance art on the intro for “Little Acorns,” covering the Burt Bacharach song “I Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” and exploring stealthy bass level tones through an octave guitar on the single “Seven Nation Army.”
“I wrote that riff in a soundcheck in Australia at a show that we played down there,” Jack said. “I was working on this phrase that I used to say when I was a kid. I used to call the Salvation Army ‘Seven Nation Army’ because I thought that’s what the name was. So I was working around that and it just became a song about gossip. When I wrote that, I thought if I ever got asked to write the next James Bond theme, that would be the riff for it.”