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The White Stripes

Pressure is either a feeling that doesn't bother Jack and Meg White, or they do a damn good job at hiding it. When it comes to making a follow-up to an insanely successful record, Jack and Meg know how to throw the ultimate curveball at the music industry as well as their fans.

The White Stripes' new album, Get Behind Me Satan, is a darker offering than their last masterpiece, 2003's Elephant. Gone are the ultra catchy, blues-inspired rhythms--only to be replaced with marimba. Lots of marimba.

Jack first introduces marimba, accompanied by a dark piano piece on "The Nurse." Singing in torment, Jack cries, "The nurse should not be the one who puts salt in your wounds." Later in the song, we get a power chord guitar strum and crashing cymbal barrage from Meg.

On Get Behind Me Satan, Jack is a heartbroken man. His well-publicized relationship and breakup with actress Renée Zellweger seems to have inspired the gloomier aspects of the album (though he's ostensibly doing better now, having married his new sweetheart a couple weeks ago). Jack may be lonely, but he's not that lonely yet, according to the album's closing track, which finds him again banging away on piano.

Making sure to cover all musical bases, "Little Ghost" is a fun bluegrass jam. "Little ghost, little ghost, what I'm scared of the most. ... I'm the only one that sees you and I can't do much to please you," wails Jack while strumming away like a fiend.

They may be unpredictable, but The While Stripes are musical geniuses light years ahead of the rest of the world.

More by Jon Hobson

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