{Spectred Licks} “Elephant” by the White Stripes (2003)

What exactly is so elephantine about Elephant? I’m thinking the mammoth crunch of Black Math. The punishing thump of The Hardest Button to Button. The tusked wallop of Hypnotize. I could go on and on, drafting an a academic chart of homogeneity between title and content, but who has the patience for that? Elephant is as descriptive a title as any. Fourteen songs may be too many, but that’s ninny a complaint. Seven Nation Army is the albums wooly call to arms: “I’m gonna fight ‘em off. A seven nation army couldn’t could me back.” Marshalled by one of the most brutal and propulsive riffs heard this side of Jimmy Page, Seven Nation Army should strike fear and envy into the hearts of guitar players all over. This is the sound of having the right axe between your fingers and wielding it like a barbarian. And with a memory deep like an elephant’s, he seances the confederacy of Blues heroes and trades spectred licks with them all over the compass. Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, they’re both here. And Meg White too.