Blunderbuss (album)

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Blunderbuss
Studio album by Jack White
Released April 23, 2012 (2012-04-23)[1]
Recorded 2011 at Third Man Studios, Nashville, Tennessee; USA.
Genre Blues rock, garage rock, country rock, folk rock
Length 41:52
Label Third Man, XL, Columbia
Producer Jack White
Jack White chronology
Blunderbuss
(2012)
Lazaretto
(2014)
Singles from Blunderbuss
  1. "Love Interruption"
    Released: January 31, 2012
  2. "Sixteen Saltines"
    Released: March 13, 2012
  3. "Freedom at 21"
    Released: April 1, 2012
  4. "I'm Shakin'"
    Released: October 10, 2012
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 83/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
The A.V. Club B+[4]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[5]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[6]
NME 8/10[7]
Pitchfork Media 7.8/10[8]
PopMatters 6/10[9]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[10]
Spin 8/10[11]
Uncut 8/10[12]
Under The Gun Review 8/10 [13]

Blunderbuss is the debut album by Jack White, released on April 23, 2012 through White's own label Third Man Records in association with XL Recordings and Columbia Records. The album was released in MP3, compact disc, and vinyl editions. The album was written, recorded, and produced entirely by White in 2011. The first single from the album, "Love Interruption", was released on January 30, 2012 through White's website and Third Man Records website.[14] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 138,000 copies.[15] The album received Grammy Award nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards,[16] while the single "Freedom at 21" was nominated for Best Rock Song. The single "I'm Shakin" was nominated for Best Rock Performance at 2014 Grammy Awards.[17]

Background[edit]

Blunderbuss has its roots in White's recordings with several artists under his label, Third Man Records, including Tom Jones. White was in contact with Wu-Tang Clan member RZA and, when RZA couldn't attend the session at the last moment, to make good use of the musicians that turned up at his studio, White decided to get them to play his own material[18] ultimately recording several tracks that he had written in the last six months of 2011. The tracks would later develop into songs that appear on the album.[19] The album was produced by Grammy-winning sound engineer Vance Powell, who had also worked with such names as The Whigs, Kings of Leon, and Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. The entire album was recorded to 8-track analogue tape.[20] According to White, he used “100 different production styles on the record." He explained:

It "came from the freedom of having my own studio and having people in Nashville who could come at short notice. What was great too with all these hired guns in the room was that I could write on-the-fly. I could ask people to play something, and I would go somewhere else and work on another part. I was directing people in the room. I had never done that before. When you are in a band, you don't really tell other people what to play.[18]

In regards to finally issuing a solo album, White said, "I've put off making records under my own name for a long time but these songs feel like they could only be presented under my name. These songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colors on my own canvas."[21] To promote Blunderbuss, White performed "Love Interruption" and "Sixteen Saltines" on the March 3, 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live, with two different backing bands, one all-female and the other all-male. The studio version of "Sixteen Saltines" was subsequently released via White's YouTube channel on March 13.[22] Promotional copies of the album, distributed to reviewers and radio stations, were sent as vinyl records to prevent leaks.[citation needed] The album leaked on April 15, nine days ahead of its official release.[23] On April 16, Third Man Records streamed the album in its entirety on iTunes for free listening, 8 days before its release.[citation needed]

Release[edit]

The vinyl LP version of the record was pressed at United Record Pressing in Nashville, TN.[24] The photographs on the record album were taken outside the Nashville Electric Service South Substation in Nashville, Tennessee.[25] The Japanese edition of the album features two extra tracks: "Machine Gun Silhouette" and a cover of U2's "Love Is Blindness" (which appeared on the tribute record AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered).

Singles[edit]

  • "Love Interruption" was the first single from the album, released January 30, 2012. On February 8, 2012, "Machine Gun Silhouette", the B-side to "Love Interruption", appeared on SoundCloud, but it was quickly removed. The single peaked at #13 and #27 on the Billboard US Alternative Songs and US Rock Songs charts, respectively.[26]
  • "Sixteen Saltines" was the second single, released on March 13, 2012. It reached #129 in the UK Singles Chart and #12 in the top Alternative Songs.
  • "Freedom at 21", a track originally released via helium balloon as a part of a stunt for Record Store Day, was leaked onto the internet on April 14, 2012.
  • "I'm Shakin", a cover of Little Willie John

Reception[edit]

Blunderbuss met with widespread praise from critics and fans, receiving a score of 83 (or "universal acclaim") on the aggregator site Metacritic.[27] Many reviewers commented on the theme of heartbreak that seems to dominate the lyrics. The Washington Post called the album "restless, cranky and great, although weirdly inconsequential: less a statement of artistic purpose than a stellar collection of songs."[28] The Sunday Times remarked that "if his lyrics seem oppressively focused on one subject, his music heads happily all over the place, echoing all the previous aspects of his career and wandering into new areas."[29] Billboard said that "Blunderbuss is familiar enough to please the faithful, adventurous enough to forge a new path forward and satisfying enough to make fans realize anew just how much White has been missed,"[30] and USA Today said that "more than just being his first solo album, Blunderbuss is Jack White's divorce album," adding, "Blunderbuss aims wide and often hits home."[31] The album was number three on Rolling Stone's list of the best albums of the year, saying "the album bursts with mutated Memphis soul ("Love Interruption"), crunk-Kiss swagger ("Sixteen Saltines") and looped-out hippie jazz folk ("Take Me With You When You Go")."[32] In one conservative review, The Toronto Star called the album "the most conventional record White has made outside of the Raconteurs and...falls just a hair shy of the lofty expectations one might hold for a Jack White solo album.[33]

Commenting beyond its merits musically, the album drew mixed commentary on what it revealed about White's views towards women. In one review from Jessica Misnener with The Atlantic, she remarked, "White's dismissal of a 21st-century woman in Blunderbuss' 'Freedom at 21' makes perfect sense. A modern-day woman, with her sexual freedom and iPhone, represents power and choice, things that White embraces in his own life. But she's come by this in a way that's not on his terms, so she's a villain."[34] Allison Stewerrt with The Washington Post concurred, saying, "Hangers-on may be frequent targets, but women don't come off well, either: They're creatures of eternal falseness, apparently, who wear too much makeup and want to kill White's mother and send her to hell."[28] But in another album review, Rob Sheffield with Rolling Stone said, in reference to White's all-female band, that his "favorite trick is turning women into rock goddesses: Meg White, Alison Mosshart, Alicia Keys, even Loretta Lynn. White knows how to make women feel like stars."[35] Echoing this sentiment, Laura Barton with The Guardian remarked, "It's undeniable that White's music is fired by the difference between male and female...But nowhere does he assert that the masculine is superior to the feminine, rather that there are differences to be celebrated."[36] In a interview with The Guardian that brought up the accusations of misogyny, White said, "I don't know where the hell people got that from me because I've done so much work in my life to promote female musicians and artists...I respect and I'm inspired by them so much."[37]

Blunderbuss also performed well commercially. On March 5, 2013, the album achieved gold status, having sold over 500,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[38]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jack White, except "I'm Shakin'" by Rudy Toombs

No. Title Length
1. "Missing Pieces"   3:27
2. "Sixteen Saltines"   2:37
3. "Freedom at 21"   2:51
4. "Love Interruption"   2:38
5. "Blunderbuss"   3:06
6. "Hypocritical Kiss"   2:50
7. "Weep Themselves to Sleep"   4:19
8. "I'm Shakin'"   3:00
9. "Trash Tongue Talker"   3:20
10. "Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy"   3:03
11. "I Guess I Should Go to Sleep"   2:37
12. "On and On and On"   3:55
13. "Take Me with You When You Go"   4:10
Japanese bonus tracks
No. Title Length
14. "Machine Gun Silhouette"   2:56
15. "Love Is Blindness"   3:18

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Blunderbuss liner notes.[39]

  • Jack Whitelead vocals (all tracks), electric guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 13), acoustic guitar (tracks 4, 5, 10, and 12), piano (tracks 9, 11, 12, and 13), bass guitar (track 6), drums (track 11), Rhodes (track 1), guitar case (track 11), clapping (track 8)
  • Carla Azar - drums (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 13), maracas (track 6), percussion (track 2), shaker (tracks 1 and 8), clapping (track 8)
  • Emily Bowland - clarinet, bass clarinet (track 4)
  • Bryn Davies - upright bass (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, and 13 ), clapping (track 8)
  • Karen Elson - backing vocals (tracks 8, 12, and 13)
  • Joey Glynn - upright bass (track 11)
  • Adam Hoskins - acoustic guitar (track 11)
  • Olivia Jean - clapping, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Daru Jones - drums, tambourine (track 9)
  • Fats Kaplin - fiddle (tracks 2 and 13), mandolin (track 10), pedal steel (tracks 5 and 12 )
  • Patrick Keeler - drums (track 12)
  • Ryan Koenig - backing vocals (track 11)
  • Pokey LaFarge - mandolin, backing vocals (track 11)
  • Jack Lawrence - bass guitar (track 9)
  • Laura Matula - backing vocals (tracks 8, 12, and 13 )
  • Jake Orrall - electric guitar (track 9)
  • Lillie Mae Rische - fiddle (track 13)
  • Brooke Waggoner - Fender Rhodes (track 13), Hammond B3 (track 2), piano (tracks 5, 6, 7, 10, and 12), Wurlitzer piano (track 4)

Charts and certifications[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Jack White Best International Male Solo Artist Nominated

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Blunderbuss Album of the Year Nominated
Best Rock Album Nominated
"Freedom at 21" Best Rock Song Nominated
2014 "I'm Shakin" Best Rock Performance Nominated
Best Music Video Nominated

MTV Europe Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 Jack White Best Alternative Nominated
Best Look Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 "Sixteen Saltines" video Best Rock Video Nominated

mtvU Woodie Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Jack White FOMO Woodie Nominated
Jack White Branching Out Woodie Nominated

O Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Jack White Analog Genius Award Won

UK Music Video Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 "Sixteen Saltines" video Best Indie/Rock Video - International Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Critic Reviews for Blunderbuss. Metacritic. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Blunderbuss - Jack White". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Hyden, Steven. "Jack White: Blunderbuss". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Cot, Greg (April 23, 2012). "CD: Jack White: Blunderbuss". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ Petridis, Alexis (April 19, 2012). "CD: Jack White: Blunderbuss". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ Nicolson, Barry (April 20, 2012). "CD: Jack White: Blunderbuss". NME. London. 
  8. ^ Dombal, Ryan (April 23, 2012). "CD: Jack White: Blunderbuss". Chicago: Pitchfork Media. 
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  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob. "Jack White: Blunderbuss - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
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  17. ^ "The Official Site of Music's Biggest Night". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved 2014-01-24. 
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  32. ^ December 20, 2012. "ALBUMS OF THE YEAR", Rolling Stone. (1172/1173):71-85
  33. ^ Rayner, Ben (April 24, 2012). "ALBUM REVIEWS", The Toronto Star. 04/24/2012
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  68. ^ "American album certifications – Blunderbuss". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH