Icky Thump (song)
|Single by The White Stripes|
|from the album Icky Thump|
|Released||April 26, 2007 (U.S., Canada)|
|Format||Digital download, CD single, 7" vinyl|
|Genre||Garage rock, blues rock, noise rock|
|Length||4:17 (Album Version)
3:50 (Radio Edit)
|Label||Warner Bros. (U.S.)
XL Recordings (Europe)
|Writer(s)||Jack White III|
|Producer(s)||Jack White III|
|The White Stripes singles chronology|
The name of the track comes from the Northern England exclamation "Ecky Thump," roughly meaning "Oh god!" The phrase was popularized in an episode of The Goodies. The album title was then changed to "Icky" so that "teenagers would understand it better back in America," in the same way Led Zeppelin took out the "a" so they wouldn't be referred to as 'Lead Zeppelin.'
Release and reception
The single was made available online through the United States and Canada iTunes Store on Thursday, April 26, 2007. The digital download has been available since June 4. The single debuted at #28 in the United States, making it not only the highest charting White Stripes single, but also their first Top 40 appearance, achieving this with virtually no pop radio airplay. It peaked a week later at #26.
Third Man Records/XL Recordings also released CD and vinyl versions of the "Icky Thump" single on June 11, 2007 in the UK. It is to date the duo's biggest UK chart hit, debuting at #13 in the UK Singles Chart via download sales alone and peaking at #2 the following week, marking their first UK Top 3 single and was kept off the #1 spot by "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z. However, it very quickly dropped out of the charts, spending only seven weeks there.
The song was #23 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2007.
This song was #17 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007. On December 6, 2007, "Icky Thump" was nominated for two 2007 Grammy Awards: Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. "Icky Thump" won the 2008 Grammy award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
The song also ended the 15-week run of "What I've Done" by Linkin Park at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart when the song rose to the top of that chart in August. It is the second song by the White Stripes to top the chart, after "Seven Nation Army." The song is sandwiched between the 15 week run at number 1 of "What I've Done" and "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters' 18 week run, separated by only the 1 week appearance of "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven. It ended up being certified both Gold for physical shipments and Platinum for digital sales in the US.
Though grounded in straightforward garage rock to a greater degree than the Get Behind Me Satan singles, the song differed radically from previous White Stripes singles in its unusual construction: angular tempo-changes, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, and chaotic improvised snake-charming solos, played on a Univox synthesizer.
The song deals with the topic of immigration to the United States. The song itself criticizes contemporary American immigration policy, something seen also in the video. It is thus the first political White Stripes track since "The Big Three Killed My Baby," off The White Stripes.
The lyrics talk about someone (perhaps Jack White himself) taking a trip to Mexico in a wagon, easily crossing the border to Mexico, as opposed to the difficulties illegal Mexican immigrants face while crossing northwards. It then mentions a Mexican lady giving him a bed to sleep in, then tying him up, assaulting him and holding him hostage. When finally able to escape, White decides to start doing his own house chores (referring, most likely, to the hiring of illegal immigrants as very low paid house servants). In the video, when White escapes the lady's house and crosses back to the USA, he passes by Mexican workers building a wall, likely the so-called Great Wall of Mexico.
The defining verse against immigration policies comes near the end of the song:
What? Nothin' better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out
You're an immigrant too.
Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well you can't be a pimp
And a prostitute too.
I hit myself with a stone
And learned how to clean up after myself
- "Icky Thump"
- "Etching" (no audio)
Standard 7" 
- "Icky Thump"
- "Baby Brother"
Promo CD single
- "Icky Thump" (Radio edit)
- "Icky Thump" (Album version)
CD single 
- "Icky Thump" - 4:18
- "Catch Hell Blues" - 4:16
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||26|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock||1|
|U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock||11|
|UK Singles Chart||2|
|Belgium Singles Chart||49|
|Denmark Singles Chart||4|
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart||46|
|Irish Singles Chart||21|
|Canadian Hot 100||9|
- CD liner notes: Grammy Nominees 2008
- FM96 Radio, Tuesday April 10 2007
- "Interview with Jack White". Later with Jools Holland. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
- "News page". White Stripes web site. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- Jonathan Cohen, "Maroon 5 Makes 'Wondrous' Jump To Lead Hot 100", Billboard.com, May 3, 2007.
- No byline (December 11, 2007). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-21
- (February 9, 2008). "2008 Grammy Award Winners and Nominees" "New York Times". Retrieved 2007-01-12
- "American certifications – Icky Thump". Recording Industry Association of America.
- "Icky Thump : White Stripes :Review :RollingStone". RollingStone. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- Official website of the band
- Song lyrics, made available on the White Stripes' official website.
- 'Icky Thump' song of the day on thishereboogie.com 11 Dec 2008
"What I've Done" by Linkin Park
|Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
August 4, 2007 - August 18, 2007
"Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven