When some young college professor gets the idea to teach a class on Jack White – and let’s be real, this reality isn’t that far off – they’re going to reserve a whole semester-long unit for Lazaretto. Maybe that sounds like a load of fanboy gushing, but make no mistake: On first impression, this is White’s least musically engaging album since anything pre-Elephant, a possible disappointment for anyone craving one unhinged guitar solo after another. But after a few more listens, the record – White’s second LP as a solo artist and forty-fifth (!) as producer – begins to function like his Nashville-based Third Man Records and novelties storefront: with each visit, one notices more strangely enticing details that reveal an understated genius similar to that of some literary treasure like the The Great Gatsby.
It’s almost worth breaking the album down line-by-line as you would that novel, because every little detail might be packed with deeper meaning. Consider the record’s alleged backstory: It was his longest production process to date (1.5 years), he conquered writer’s block by pulling characters and l...
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