De Stijl [duh stahyl]
1. A Dutch phrase meaning “The Style”
2. A school of art that was founded in the Netherlands in 1917, embraced painting, sculpture, architecture, furniture, and the decorative arts, and was marked especially by the use of black and white with the primary colors, rectangular forms, and asymmetry.
3. An album released in 2000 by The White Stripes.
In the year 2000, The White Stripes released their second full length album entitled De Stijl. The album’s title has its origins in the early 1900’s, but was most likely brought to Jack White’s attention during his work as an upholsterer, which he continued to do during the making of De Stijl. The architecture and format of the school of art and style couldn’t be more relevant when looking at The White Stripes second album. Following some early singles and their first full length album released in 1999, De Stijl set out to offer more than just the Garage and Punk sounds emphasized on the early White Stripes recordings. This album brought in more elements of Pop and predominately Blues, while at the same time incorporating the Garage and Punk dynamic that this Detroit duo had been producing at the time. De Stijl was also recorded primarily in Jack White’s living room in Detroit, Michigan on an eight track tape recorder. Additional mixing/engineering was done by Jim Diamond, who produced the first White Stripes album at Ghetto Recorders in Detroit.
The album starts off with the “You’re Pretty Good Looking”, a song that displays a Power Pop/Garage dynamic. It also displays satirical lyrics such as “And your thoughts have been stolen by the boys/Who took you out and bought you everything you want now “, which lyrically comments on a relationship built upon vanity. “Hello Operator” comes in next, a catchy and raunchy Garage track infused with Blues elements, this song was also the first single to be released from this album. It was backed with a cover of Dolly Parton’s :”Jolene”. This song is a strong song and an indication where the band would go with songs such as “Fell In Love With A Girl” and songs that would formulate on 2003’s Elephant. “Apple Blossom” showcases the bands more Pop sensibilities sounding heavily influenced by The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society album. The song also brings in the theme of childhood and school which is prevalent in a few songs on this album and in future White Stripes songs like “I Can Tell That We’re Gonna Be Friends”. “I’m Bound To Pack It Up” pulls in Folk and Blues and lyrically addresses a relationship gone sour. “Sister, Do You Know My Name?” is steeped deep in the Delta Blues, and “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise” is a piano driven ballad. “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise” features lyrics such as “I cant explain it/I feel it often/Every time I see her face/But the way you treat her fills me with rage and I want to tear apart the place”. These conflicting lyrics, when combined with the piano driven accompaniment, prove to be very powerful songwriting.
Other notable tracks on this album include, “Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me?” which features a heavy Blues influences mixed with elements of Classic Rock, “Let’s Build A Home” is a furious fast paced start and stop Detroit styled Garage Rock song with a slow Blues sliding breakdown, while “Jumble, Jumble” is another song adhering to the Garage format with Punk and Blues overtones. De Stijl features covers of two Blues songs one called “Death Letter” originally by Son House which is an epiphany oriented tale about love and death and “Your Southern Can Is Mine” originally by Blind Willie McTell, which ends the album on a light hearted Country flavoured note musically, and weighs in heavier lyrically.
There is a line in the song “Sister, Do You Know My Name?” that goes “And I don’t want to break the rules/Cause I’ve broken them all before” that can be rather fitting here. Some fans argue that De Stijl is the strongest album to be released by the band. This album redefined The White Stripes style bringing in different elements such as Blues and showcasing the future songwriting abilities of Jack White that would bring them greater acclaim on albums such as White Blood Cells and Elephant. This album is dedicated to bluesman Blind Willie McTell and Dutch artist Gerrit Rietveld from the above aforementioned De Stijl school of art. De Stijl took from both those elements the Blues, and the De Stijl school of art. Both the school of art and the Blues involved a highly simplistic aesthetic, which resulted in a dramatic effect.
This Week's Play List:
1. The Fruit Tones – Chicken Lollipop
2. The Chants R&B – I’m Your Witchdoctor
3. The Milkshakes – Let’s Stomp
4. Stegosaurus – Eleven Forty Eight
5. The Sundelles – Fight For My Time
6. Teenanger – Very Ape
7. Gringo Star – Want Some Fun
8. Cults – I Can Hardly Make You Mine
9. Harlan Pepper - Secret Spy Decoder Ring
10. Animal Parts – Big Bird
11. Beverley’s All Stars – Smoke Screen
12. Jimmy Cliff – You Can Get It If You Really Want
13. The Munks – Marie Please Come Back to Me
14. The Scenics – Wild Trout
15. Actual Water – Fire On George St.
16. Light Bulb Alley – Jemon Jaws
17. Avengers – I Told You So
18. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – 78 Style
19. Pell Mell – Spy Vs. Spy
20. The Traditional Fools – Party At My House
21. The White Stripes – Hello Operator
22. The White Stripes – Apple Blossom
23. The White Stripes - I'm Bound To Pack It Up
24. The White Stripes – Jumble, Jumble
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for December 3. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.