Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
JACK WHITE | Blunderbuss
Third Man/XL/Columbia (2012)
Selected by Sarah Paolantonio
Four years passed between the release of The White Stripes’ last studio album Icky Thump and the announcement of the band’s split. Fans everywhere were crushed by the loss of never getting to see the duo sweat it out live on stage again. And without a third record from The Raconteurs in sight and the members of The Dead Weather preoccupied with their own, other side projects, it was time for Jack White to truly fly solo.
He did it right, and right by his fans, to make a textbook rock and roll record with Blunderbuss. Highlighting everything White took from his decades as a musician, producer, songwriter, and collaborator, its highs and lows hit all the marks. His signature backwards-electric guitar sound on “Sixteen Saltines” is loud enough to rattle your teeth. White shows off and shreds on the piano on “Trash Tongue Talker” and gets tender on the title track between an upright bass and pedal steel guitar. An orchestra of instruments and vocalists surround him, bringing depth and color unlike any album he wrote before.
White famously brought two bands with him to tour Blunderbuss, one all male (The Buzzards) and the other all female (The Peacocks). Each played different iterations of every song (I saw him play with both bands on this tour and it was literal night and day). White and his band mates tumble, stretch, and fold into each other seamlessly thriving on possibility. Album closer “Take Me With You When You Go” is what you want. Its percussive patterns, crescendos, and layered vocals are the peak of the record. It closes with the best guitar solo on the whole LP tying Blunderbuss up in a crisp package that’s fun to open every time.