Second solo album of the year from the former White Stripes man finds him in mostly relaxed, stripped-back mood – and it works beautifully Twenty years after The White Stripes‘ heyday, Jack White is showing no signs that his legendary prolific streak is calming down. Just three months after his last solo album, Fear Of The Dawn, White is back with his second solo album of 2022. The two records may have been recorded at the same time (there were apparently plans for them to be released as a double album, which would have been a frankly exhausting listen), but they are two very different beasts.
Anyone who has learned guitar at any point in the past couple of decades has probably fumbled their way through a Jack White riff at some point -- "Seven Nation Army" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" within the first week of picking up the instrument, "Lazaretto" and "Blue Orchid" a month or two after that, and "Fell in Love with a Girl" at whatever point they figured out power chords. For anyone hanging around a guitar store, his music is the perfect way to test out a fuzz pedal.
But in between the usual heavy riffs, White has been slowly dabbling in quiet acoustic work: the trad-folk of 2003's Cold Mountain soundtrack, the low-key ballads of 2005's Get Behind Me Satan, and the 2016 compilation Acoustic Recordings.
The second record of 2022 from Nashville-by-Detroit rock star Jack White, Entering Heaven Alive represents a clear departure from the wacky experimentation of the first, Fear of the Dawn. Both records spawned from the same recording sessions, where White noticed the stark contrast forming in the songs he was creating. "The playlists on my computer were all the heavy ones and all the soft ones," White said in an interview with Spin.
Jack White's second album in the space of three months might well be looked back on as the corrective record of his solo career. If the past few years have seen the former White Stripes man in something akin to his 80s Dylan phase - a legend whose status is long secured wilfully doing what he wants with
scant regard for commerciality or what his audience might think - then history might
view Entering Heaven Alive as the moment the balance is redressed.
Like 2018's Boarding House Reach, which featured rap, spoken word and some erratic musical choices, April 2022's Fear Of The Dawn was patchily experimental. This is much more recognisably White fare: rootsy, bluesy, back to basics.