It was announced this week that Jack White will be heading on tour to promote his new solo album, Boarding House Reach due out March 23rd. Last week, the first two singles from the album, “Connected By Love” and “Respect Commander,” dropped to mixed reviews. We want you to take a listen to the songs and judge for yourself. Instead, we are more curious as to White’s timing. Do we really need to hear from him right now?
Here at Highlark we believe everyone has a story to tell and everyone has the right to tell it. Especially the infamously oddball that is Jack White. Many of us are big fans of his music. He is a legend. Some of us have even taken his side in his crazy Dan Auerbach rivalry. For the most part we are excited for him to back on the scene. However, we must question the timing of White’s reemergence during a time of heighten sensitively and awareness for the need for gender equality.
To rephrase we are wondering if White, himself, is aware of what is going on in the world around him. We are wondering how he is going to address these issues. If he is going to address these issues. This is the guy who notoriously came under scrutiny in 2012 for his depiction of women in his music. Furthermore will his fans, many of whom are now woke be open to his music?
White has always preferred to work with women. Telling Josh Eells from The New York Times Magazine in 2012 while promoting his solo album Blunderbuss, “When you’re in a room of five guys, it becomes a bunch of gorillas in a cage…Girls don’t have those hang-ups.” As the article goes on the quote takes on a whole new meaning, it appears White prefers working with women because he needs to be in control. At least that is how the New York Times Magazine framed the article. That Jack White chooses to work with women who he can successfully subjugate.
Photo sourced from Jack White’s social (uncredited)
That does not mean the women he has worked with have been okay with that. His first ex-wife Meg White divorced him and has remained fairly silent about their relationship. Though a quick google search can find tidbits to support the claim. His second wife, Karen Elson, not so much. They are now on good terms and recently told Metro that she is lucky to have him as an ex-husband, “As ex-husbands go, I’m really lucky in that sense. As the kids get older, I realize how fortunate I am to have him as a co-parent… I really give massive props to Jack in that sense.”
Writing for The Atlantic, and we suggest you read her in-depth perspective, Jessica Misener in “Jack White’s Women Problem” says Blunderbuss doubles down on White’s lyrical campaign against females he can’t control: “White’s a famous control freak,” Misener diligently reports, “and in his songs, women are constantly threatening his control, forcing him into playing the role of victim.”
If you read White’s lyrics word for word you too will believe Eells and Misener’s and nearly every music critic who reviewed 2012’s Blunderbuss‘ hypothesis that Jack White does indeed have a problem with women he cannot control. 5 years later, the world is different. What was “accepted” or “ignored’ then might not be accepted or ignored today. What was deliberated and discussed amongst music critics in 2012 might find it’s way to a more woke listener.
White’s first verse in his new single “Connected By Love” seems to be a plea for a woman’s forgiveness. White told Rolling Stone “I’m still kind of learning about the song…the melody was coming straight from my gut. You start putting yourself into this characters minutes and see what you can make out of it.”