Ranked: Albums Featuring Jack White (The White Stripes)

  • Publish Date: May 11, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 8 user comments

The star of the Stripes

Average Metascores for Albums by Jack White's Bands
The White Stripes 83.8
The Raconteurs 75.0
The Dead Weather 73.0

It's hard to describe Jack White without resorting to a lot of hyphens (or commas). A singer, songwriter, guitarist, drummer, record store owner, producer, upholsterer, record label executive, and actor, White is a key component of three different bands, most famously the Detroit-based garage rock duo The White Stripes (along with drummer Meg White, his former wife).

But White's music isn't always found cloaked in red, white, and black. His latest release finds him performing in one of his two other bands, The Dead Weather. In stores this week, Sea of Cowards 71 is the second LP for the band, which also features The Kills' Alison Mosshart, Queens of the Stone Age's Dean Fertita, and Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs, another White side project).

Critics, however, do not appear to be as fond of The Dead Weather as they are of The White Stripes or other White-related projects, and reviews for Sea of Cowards have been somewhat disappointing so far (though still far from poor overall). How have reviewers reacted to each of White's albums in the past? His albums are ranked below.

Albums Featuring Jack White as Artist or Producer, From Best to Worst
Artist/Title Year Metascore User Score
1 Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn 2004 97 8.9
"A darkly compelling masterpiece that taps into the pitch-black id of Johnny Cash’s best records."
-- New York Magazine
White produced (and performed on) this late-career, Grammy-winning classic for the country singer, still one of Metacritic's all-time highest-scoring albums.
2 Elephant by The White Stripes 2003 92 8.2
"It's what the British Invasion might've sounded like had it come after punk rock."
-- Magnet
The Stripes' commercially and critically successful major-label debut gave the past decade one of its single greatest songs: "Seven Nation Army."
3 De Stijl by The White Stripes 2000 n/a n/a
"As distinctive as it is diverse, De Stijl blends the Stripes' arty leanings with enough rock muscle to back up the band's ambitions."
-- All Music Guide
It's a toss-up as to whether De Stijl or its follow-up, White Blood Cells, is the superior album; each has its champions, and both are stellar. We give the nod to this, the band's second LP, for tracks like the classic "You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl)" and the catchy "Apple Blossom."
4 White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 2001 86 8.7
"Few other performers have electrified country blues to such plaintive and non-parodic effect since the heyday of Led Zeppelin."
-- Uncut
The album that first brought major attention to the band, White Blood Cells features standout tracks like "Fell in Love with a Girl" and "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground."
5 Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes 2005 81 8.4
"Though it might not be their biggest or best album, The White Stripes might never make a bolder one."
-- Under the Radar
Not as successful as its predecessor Elephant, Satan found Jack and Meg experimenting with different styles and relying more on acoustic instrumentation (including marimba and piano) than in the past.
6 The White Stripes by The White Stripes 1999 n/a n/a
"The White Stripes still holds up as the most uncompromisingly stripped-down, honest, and arguably best album in their entire repertoire."
-- PopMatters
The Stripes' 1999 debut is surely the duo's rawest, bluesiest album, kicking off with the propulsive "Jimmy the Exploder" and moving through a minimalist but huge-sounding set that includes covers of Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan.
7 Icky Thump by The White Stripes 2007 80 8.7
"This is by far The White Stripes’ most peculiar record."
-- Drowned In Sound
While this Grammy-winning effort reigned in some of Get Behind Me Satan's experimentalism, Icky Thump nevertheless blows through a number of genres in a set that some found weird; others, exhilarating.
7 Under Great White Northern Lights [Live] by The White Stripes 2010 80 8.6
"Under Great White Northern Lights is a perfect explanation of the band's significance to doubters, now and in the future."
-- Prefix
Despite being a duo, the White Stripes were always a tremendous live band, and this live set goes at least part of the way toward capturing their energy on disc. A concert DVD is also available.
9 Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs 2006 75 8.0
"What the Raconteurs offer is the middle-ground between White's muscular, distorted blues and Benson's Who-goes-bubblegum approach."
-- The Guardian
Featuring Brendan Benson and members of The Greenhornes in addition to White, The Raconteurs failed to match the commercial and critical success of The White Stripes with this debut album, though it did spawn the hit single ""Steady, As She Goes."
9 Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs 2008 75 8.8
"The result is neither refined nor especially modern, but it still evokes the thrill of playing hooky on a Friday afternoon."
-- Entertainment Weekly
White and Benson again split songwriting duties on this chaotic second album for their joint side project, which was released with little advance warning or promotion and draws heavily on the sound of the British Invasion.
9 Horehound by The Dead Weather 2009 75 8.1
"It's nothing but riffs and 'tude all the way through."
-- The Phoenix
White's third band was formed out of an impromptu jam session, and features the acclaimed guitarist playing drums, while vocal duties fall to The Kills' Alison Mosshart. This debut, like his other side projects, was released on White's own Third Man Records.
12 Soledad Brothers by Soledad Brothers 2000 n/a n/a
"This is a raw album that should be well liked by fans of the British Invasion and blues artists such as John Lee Hooker and Honeyboy Edwards."
-- All Music Guide
After Soledad Brothers guitarist Johnny Walker had performed on a few tracks on the Stripes' debut, White produced this bluesy, self-titled debut album for the Ohio garage rock band, which also includes an appearance by Meg White.
13 Cold Mountain OST 2003 73 n/a
"'Cold Mountain' proves what most of us have long suspected: when The White Stripes end, White will be far from finished."
-- NME
The soundtrack to Anthony Minghella's Civil War drama Cold Mountain 73 features five songs performed by White, who also appeared as a mandolin player in the film.
14 Sea of Cowards by The Dead Weather 2010 71 7.5
"The tunes just aren’t there."
-- Chicago Tribune
The Dead Weather's second LP is being criticized by some critics for being all atmosphere and no substance, with the songwriting the chief culprit. Other reviewers, however, feel that the group has become more of a cohesive band since their first outing.
14 Sewed Soles by The Greenhornes 2005 71 9.0
"As a primer on The Greenhornes, Sewed Soles works best."
-- Lost At Sea
White produced many of the tracks on this 2005 compilation album for the garage rockers, who share a few members with the Raconteurs and Dead Weather.
16 Do Rabbits Wonder? by Whirlwind Heat 2004 62 8.5
"It's not all bad, though, as the album possesses a killer repertoire of filthy bass lines and an undeniable pedal-to-the-metal verve."
-- Q
Several critics were annoyed by this debut album from the arty, Michigan-based indie rockers, though a few admired its energy. White produced the disc, which was the first album released by his label Third Man Records.

White on the big screen

You can also watch White performing along with fellow guitarists the Edge and Jimmy Page in the 2009 documentary It Might Get Loud 70, while you can also catch him acting in films such as Coffee and Cigarettes 65 and Walk Hard 63.

What do you think?

What is your favorite Jack White album? Cast your vote in our poll, and discuss White's albums in our comments section below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (8)

  • kabal  

    ranked from best to worst? sea of cowards album was ranked amazingly high. rollingstones, allmusic - they all gave high rating for sea of cowards. the one who made this topic or how it is called, is a douche ****

  • Drew  

    Where is The Go - Whatcha Doin (1998; Sub Pop) ? Jack White was a guitarist.

  • Anya  

    What about "Danger! High Voltage" from Electric Six?

  • Christopher  

    De Stijl is far and away my favorite. Easily the best songwriting on any White Stripes album. I wish they would go back to that level of quality because I felt Icky Thump and Get Behind Me Satan were both lackluster efforts.

  • Josh  

    ICKY THUMP is the most sonically interesting album as well as featuring some of his best songs! Martyr for my Love for You, icky Thump, Conquest, Little Cream Soda, You Don't know What Love Is. COME ON!

  • Ben Levy  

    White Blood Cells will always be tops for me. De Stijl and Broken Boy Soldiers would probably come next. What's funny is that I never was a big fan of Elephant, but everyone else loves it.

  • Annette  

    What, no Icky Thump in the poll? That is my fav Jack White album. It seems like a departure from their other albums doesn't mean it's not good. It was great!

  • Mitch Tough  

    De Stijl is Jack White at the height of his powers. By far the best.

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