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4.2 42
by The White Stripes

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Their binary color scheme -- red, white -- and instrumental attack -- guitar, drums -- belie the dazzling array of hues these Detroit natives bring to their wildly popular post-blues-rock. Elephant, the Stripes' fourth long-player, has been trumpeted as a make-or-break deal, since it arrives on the heels of their smash White


Their binary color scheme -- red, white -- and instrumental attack -- guitar, drums -- belie the dazzling array of hues these Detroit natives bring to their wildly popular post-blues-rock. Elephant, the Stripes' fourth long-player, has been trumpeted as a make-or-break deal, since it arrives on the heels of their smash White Blood Cells, and from virtually the first groove of the anthemic "Seven Nation Army," it's clear that they have no intention of buckling under the strain. Whether he's stomping, as on the incendiary "The Air Near My Fingers," or swooning, as on "I Want to Be the Boy" (which continues his string of infectiously innocent pre-adolescent love paeans), Jack White remains intriguingly real, unflaggingly believable. Elephant isn't a huge departure from White Blood Cells; it's more an intensification of that album's M.O., with the noisy songs offering up more noise and the sweet counterpoints a little more sugar. The band's nods to the blues have grown more confident, with icons like Lightnin' Hopkins and Son House used as stepping-stones rather than crutches, a transition they display on the distortion-laced epic "Ball and Biscuit." Making a big noise is but one of the Stripes' strengths, though: The sound and fury they unleash here signifies plenty, particularly on the bitterly careening "Black Math" and the feedback-caressed cover of the Bacharach classic "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself." In keeping with their minimalist aesthetic, the White Stripes recorded Elephant in just a few days, using just a few tracks on an ancient studio board. But the result -- to borrow a line from that credit card campaign -- is absolutely priceless.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
White Blood Cells may have been a reaction to the amount of fame the White Stripes had received up to the point of its release, but, paradoxically, it made full-fledged rock stars out of Jack and Meg White and sold over half a million copies in the process. Despite the White Stripes' ambivalence, fame nevertheless seems to suit them: They just become more accomplished as the attention paid to them increases. Elephant captures this contradiction within the Stripes and their music; it's the first album they've recorded for a major label, and it sounds even more pissed-off, paranoid, and stunning than its predecessor. Darker and more difficult than White Blood Cells, the album offers nothing as immediately crowd-pleasing or sweet as "Fell in Love With a Girl" or "We're Going to Be Friends," but it's more consistent, exploring disillusionment and rejection with razor-sharp focus. Chip-on-the-shoulder anthems like the breathtaking opener, "Seven Nation Army," which is driven by Meg White's explosively minimal drumming, and "The Hardest Button to Button," in which Jack White snarls "Now we're a family!" -- one of the best oblique threats since Black Francis sneered "It's educational!" all those years ago -- deliver some of the fiercest blues-punk of the White Stripes' career. "There's No Home for You Here" sets a girl's walking papers to a melody reminiscent of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" (though the result is more sequel than rehash), driving the point home with a wall of layered, "Queen-ly" harmonies and piercing guitars, while the inspired version of "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" goes from plaintive to angry in just over a minute, though the charging guitars at the end sound perversely triumphant. At its bruised heart, Elephant portrays love as a power struggle, with chivalry and innocence usually losing out to the power of seduction. "I Want to Be the Boy" tries, unsuccessfully, to charm a girl's mother; "You've Got Her in Your Pocket," a deceptively gentle ballad, reveals the darker side of the Stripes' vulnerability, blurring the line between caring for someone and owning them with some fittingly fluid songwriting. The battle for control reaches a fever pitch on the "Fell in Love With a Girl-esque" "Hypnotize," which suggests some slightly underhanded ways of winning a girl over before settling for just holding her hand, and on the show-stopping "Ball and Biscuit," seven flat-out seductive minutes of preening, boasting, and amazing guitar prowess that ranks as one the band's most traditionally bluesy (not to mention sexy) songs. Interestingly, Meg's star turn, "In the Cold, Cold Night," is the closest Elephant comes to a truce in this struggle, her kitten-ish voice balancing the song's slinky words and music. While the album is often dark, it's never despairing; moments of wry humor pop up throughout, particularly toward the end. "Little Acorns" begins with a sound clip of Detroit newscaster Mort Crim's Second Thoughts radio show, adding an authentic, if unusual, Motor City feel. It also suggests that Jack White is one of the few vocalists who could make a lyric like "Be like the squirrel" sound cool and even inspiring. Likewise, the showy "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine" -- on which White resembles a garage rock snake-oil salesman -- is probably the only song featuring the word "acetaminophen" in its chorus. "It's True That We Love One Another," which features vocals from Holly Golightly as well as Meg White, continues the Stripes' tradition of closing their albums on a lighthearted note. Almost as much fun to analyze as it is to listen to, Elephant overflows with quality -- it's full of tight songwriting, sharp, witty lyrics, and judiciously used basses and tumbling keyboard melodies that enhance the band's powerful simplicity (and the excellent "The Air Near My Fingers" features all of these). Crucially, the White Stripes know the difference between fame and success; while they may not be entirely comfortable with their fame, they've succeeded at mixing blues, punk, and garage rock in an electrifying and unique way ever since they were strictly a Detroit phenomenon. On these terms, Elephant is a phenomenal success.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
It's a glorious thing to hear. It will be one of the best things you hear all year.
Spin Magazine - Chuck Klosterman
Elephant is... a remarkably good record, quite possibly a great record, and certainly the sexiest divorce-rock album since Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville. (A)
NME - John Mulvey
Some of the most obliteratingly brilliant rock'n'roll of our time.... Elephant is breathtaking. (9)

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Warner Bros / Wea


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Elephant 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
when i first got this cd, i thought it would suck but when i heard it i went.....CRAZY!!!! the #1 album in my whole collection! all rock fans rush to the store & buy this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS IS MY OPINION, AND I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO MEASURE MUSIC: This CD has had more attention called to it than it should have. All of the songs sound alike, besides Seven Nation Army. I bought this CD because of that song, figuring the CD would hold the same punch, but alas, it did not. There are a few redeeming factors of this record though. They are that they used no computers, and that the only two instruments are the drums and guitar, even though the drummer is not such a great one. If you liked this record, you'll probably like some other bad music, like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, or Christina Agueleira. But, don't take my word for it, because you won't, go support the man, and buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think it's totally kickin'!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This band is dangerously close to making it on the 'top 3 bands of all time' list. But it's already there in my book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This album is awesome!! Black Math sums up my feelings about math class. Seven Nation Army is one of the best openers I've heard since Smells Like Teen Spirit from Nirvana's Nevermind. Some of the tracks are a little quiet for my tastes, but they are still wonderful. Ball and Biscuit is a slower, bluesy jam that is so cool. The Hardest Button to Button is another good song as well, equal in emotion to seven nation army. Girl, you have no faith in medicine is yet another fine song from this album. I especially like the use of the word "acetiometaphin" in the song. All in all, from the first track to the last, this is a wonderful album. One last thing, the album was recorded and mixed on vintage four-track equipment, which gives certain songs on the album(actually, all of them) a somewhat retro, garage-rock feel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loooooooooove Jack White and his snotty voice and quirky lyrics,people say his music sucks...they must only use 3% of thier sadex cuse of a brain.He actually writes his own songs/music,a re-freshing break from all that smutty rap with wack-o cheap background buzz that they call music,it gives me such a headache.The radio dosen't even play one White Stripe's song,it's being totally taken over by rap and R&B,cheasy pop and tire-some squealing female artists. "Seven Nation Army" is soooooo haunting,and "You've Got Her in Your Pocket" is soooooo sad. "Hardest Button to Button" reminds me of my little brother for some reason,maybe "he had a tooth ache/it souned like an earthquake." I got my little 11-year-old sister to like him too,see my friends?The White Stripes rock.Period.End of review.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The White Stripes never cease to amaze me. It is just unbelievable how two people - a girl on the drums and a guy on the guitar - can make such awesome music! And it's not just noise...it's got rythm, it's got heart, it's got soul, it's got a mind of its own. The White Stripes create fascinating hybrids of rock and blues, from the lightning bolt of "Seven Nation Army" to the light heart of "Little Acorns." Every track is fun to listen to - Meg keeps the beat flowing on the drums, and when the lyrics fade, Jack is prompt to crank up the volume on a very well-played electric guitar. Don't miss out on The White Stripes - they're popular rock at its best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album clearly shows the White Stripes are one of the greatest bands of all time. Black Math has a drive kind of feel to it while Seven Nation Army proves nobody can stop them. The other songs are great too but i cant think about what to write so you just have to listen to it yourself. Oh yes, dont listen to the guy who said it was bad, its not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the Best CDs they have done. Elephant is HUGE! White Stripes FOREVER!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cd is definitely overrated, and a comparison to the standard of the pixies is simply insane.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The White Stripes are by far the best blues-rock band to ever be around. Jack is a maniac on guitar and Meg's simplistic drumming is the what makes the White Stripes unique. Their music is great and this CD was not an exception. Plus the fact that Jack is a major cutie is a great bonus.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The White Stripes are the new Beatles. Really. No, not really, but they do happen to be the most consistent band of my generation. Four albums so far, and four brilliant ones at that. The White Stripes continue to grow and on "Elephant" they've become sexier, more energetic and, quite simply, better than ever. Sexy, bluesy punk that will make you want to, quite literally, be the amazing glory that is Jack White. You won't be disappointed with "Elephant."
Guest More than 1 year ago
The White Stripes have to be the greatest modern intrusion on a dead genre. listen to elephant, you'll know why
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would've rather given this album 4 and a half stars, but oh well. This album isn't quite a classic, it's more of a "mini-classic". The songwriting is mostly very strong, the playing is delightfully raw and gritty, and, best of all, Jack and Meg are completely different from anything that is popular right now. It's great that an album like this has been very successful, both commercially and critically, given that the current music scene is one of the most pathetic, boring scenes in history. The only drawback to this album is that the band sometimes resorts to the self-conciously heavy feedback explosions, whereas Hendrix used this sort of thing to benefit a specific song, The White Stripes use it more like a "oh, here comes the distorted heavy part" parlour trick. But that is a minor complaint. For those of us who actually want to hear music that doesn't resort to the post-grunge, hip-hop, teen pop, pop-punk, post-hardcore dribble that is being rained upon us by record companies, The White Stripes (and some of their Detroit contempories) are about the only thing we have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only good song on this cd is "Seven Nation Army". I Hate the rest! I'ts not even half as good as people say it is. So Don't buy it. When I heard it i wanted to shut it off! See Ya!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's music with a perfect beat that you just can't turn down. You never tire of it because each song differs so strongly from the rest that it's surprising! My favorite game is to puzzle over the lyrics, because they're so confusing, but when it all boils down: one of the best albums I've ever owned purely because of the music. I especially enjoyed Black Math, There's No Home for You Here, Ball and a Biscuit, and The Hardest Button to Button. WORTH EVERY CENT.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually never write or read reviews, but this is one of my favorite albums. It only took one song to make me buy this (Seven Nation Army) and one song is all you need to know if you will really love or hate this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD blew me away. It has so many styles that it's hard to tell what theyre primary style is. From the awesome opener to Well Its True We Love One Another its the best. And I thought White Cells was good. A must for anybody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those CD's that makes you want to play air guitar all the way through. It's powerful and loud at times, soothing and calm at others. "Ball and Biscuit" has a country/blues/rock sound that works very well. Fantastic tracks include the opener "Seven Nation Army," "There's No Room for You Here," "I Just Don't Know What to do With Myself," and the last track "It's True That We Love One Another." I just started listening to the CD two nights ago, so it is still fairly new to me. The songs get better and better. "Elephant" is a great buy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Elephant marks a new level of musical maturity for The White Stripes. The album uses the building blocks laid out on White Blood Cells by songs such as "The Same Boy You've Always Known", "Offend In Every Way", "Dead Leaves..." and "Now Mary". This album also showcases both Jack and Meg's abilities as virtuosos on their respective instruments. An example of this is "Ball And Biscuit" a song with a far out 1960's blues feel. Every time you listen to the album you find new things to like about it and you to notice the intricacy of the music. I wish I could say that I had a favorite song on the Album but they're all great. Three songs I'd like to point out are "There's No Home For You Here" an almost operatic piece, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" penned by B. Bacharach, and "In The Cold, Cold Night" where you hear Meg sing in a sexy and beautiful voice. This is a really great Rock album and I highly recommend the purchase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is okay... i thought it would be a little more 'rockin' like the hardest button to button but it was alittle more country and bluesey dare i say ?!!! but i enjoyed it i guess.
Pink_Cuppah More than 1 year ago
This is honestly one of the best CDs that I have ever heard in my life. I admit that I made my White Stripes purchases a few years after they broke into the scene in the early 2000's, and boy I was surprised at what I missing. Their CD, "White Blood Cells" is brilliant, but "Elephant" is out of this world. I absolutely love the energy of this composition and its retro ambience. Jack White is a musical genius, and this work of his and Meg White's is nothing short of excellence. I would highly suggest this album to anyone who is a fan of real music. It is truly a great American work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best bluesy neo-classicist rock I've heard all year and in quite a while. Every single song is excellent. My favorite has to be "Ball and Biscuit". Their very blueseist and in the several times throughout does a call and response with the vocals and the guitar. Speaking of the riffing, very original, but at the same time, very reminiscent of classic rock of the past.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this cd before it got sent off to be mastered. Wow! is all I have to say. This is a great cd, most of the songs are actually covers of material from the legendary Detroit underground punk band "Wash, Rinse, Repeat if Desired." And boy, this thing rocks! It's predominantly three chord power-pop accompanied by some soulful R&B backup vocals by the Pointer Sisters. Saddle up, friends! You're gonna dig it! I heard they're gonna do a small venue tour with the reggae band "Jamaica Bob and the Slap-happy Carnivores" this summer. Overall, the sound of this cd is quite similar to the last, just has a lot more cover material.