I can’t believe that Jack White’s been around for about 15 years now.  But when you stop to consider all his different projects in, between, and after The White Stripes, you start to realize – how did he ever find the time to put so much music out in such little time?

In 15 years, we’ve been treated to ample servings of The White Stripes, two albums from The Raconteurs, another two from The Dead Weather.  And that’s not counting the many albums he’d produced for other artistes (like Wanda Jackson), all the collaborations with different artistes  (like Danger Mouse or Alicia Keys), and running his own record label, Third Man Records.  Now, we have his long-awaited debut solo album, “Blunderbuss”.

Jack White III sure is an industrious thirtysomething.

That said, Jack White’s offering has been pretty much the same the past decade-and-a-half.  No matter what band or collaboration he’s in, at the very core, he’s an obsessive white boy from Detroit who plays deep Mississippi blues.  White confessed that his entire sound has been developed on the basis of chasing the Son House sound.  Son House is Jack White’s great white whale.

But look at how he’s brilliantly packaged the Jack White brand so differently over the years.  We’ve always known about The White Stripes’ persistent red and white aesthetic, but I hadn’t didn’t realize how seriously he had engineered that persona until the New York Times Magazine article in which he divulged that The White Stripes walked away from their first label offer because the record company wanted to put their green logo on the spine of The White Stripes’ album.  That would never do for Jack White, he told the record company to get fucked, The White Stripes walked, and the rest is Grammy history.


(Source: http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/)

When White set up his side project, The Raconteurs, he quickly established a different aesthetic: bronze.  In live shows, White would play bronze-colored Gretsch guitars wired through bronze-colored pedals.  The first album would feature a bronze-colored frame.  All of which was to remind you that you were suddenly listening to another Jack White band not called The White Stripes that demanded your attention.

(Source: Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN via austin360.com)

For his other side project, The Dead Weather, White would make yet another shift in his color palette.  Everything about The Dead Weather was black and white.  He would play a large Gretsch White Falcon, as would Jack Lawrence, the band’s bass player.  The band would frequently wear only black when playing live.

White’s record company, Third Man Records, bears a black-and-yellow theme.  The website, the employees in his Nashville record shop, all of it.  Jack White’s attention to the power of color isn’t limited to just his bands.

This week, we see the release of Jack White’s debut solo album, “Blunderbuss”.  And with that, of course we’re treated to another spectral branding of the artiste – Jack White has entered his Blue Period.

When you listen to “Blunderbuss”, it is unmistakably Jack White.  Sure, it doesn’t sound anything like The White Stripes (I feel “Blunderbuss” probably closest to a Raconteurs album), but the Jack White DNA is unmistakable.

Through all these iterations, Jack White hasn’t metamorphasized.  He’s stayed the same, he’s been faithful to his sound.  Unlike Madonna or Primal Scream through the years (can’t fucking believe I just compared Madonna with Primal Scream – just kill me now).  Jack White is Jack White is Jack White.  No matter what the aesthetic on the outside, he’s still Jack White doing the Jack Whitest things in the Jack Whitest ways.  Yet, his red-and-white guise is a different animal from his bronze guise, which in turn is different from his black-and-white guise, and so on.  I can’t wait to hear his Lone Ranger soundtrack.

Who else is as carefully thought out at Jack White these days?

Regardless of how “Blunderbuss” does (I’m sure it’ll sell just fine), surely that sort of attention to design has got to count for something in the Gobi desert that is the global music scene.

Jack White = fucking genius.