The White Stripes was one of the most successful duos of all time. Jack and Meg White were married before their combined musical career took off and stayed together until 2010. The duo attracted listeners of alternative, blues, classic rock, and everything in between. With their mind-blowing instrumental capabilities, they created the music of a multi-person band with only two people. With the addition of their unique lyrics, the songs they created were contagious and are remembered as some of the best songs of all time. Everything they touched was gold until their break-up in 2011. Even though the duo is not currently active in the music industry, the mention of their name can still spark a conversation.
On August 25th, XL Recordings released Pay Close Attention, a compilation album and box set documenting the label’s 25 year history, which features TWS’s hit “Seven Nation Army.” XL has also launched an interactive website with a timeline, photos, videos, and interviews from their archives, including three video interviews of Michel Gondry discussing “Fell In Love With A Girl” and “The Hardest Button to Button.”
In honor of this awesome website that we’ve been stalking, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best White Stripes songs of all time. Enjoy.
1. “Seven Nation Army”
“Seven Nation Army” off of Elephant is an automatic choice for one of the White Stripes best songs. With a Grammy and a spot on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songs of All Time list, this is the duo’s biggest hit.
2. “The Denial Twist”
The 2005 album Get Behind Me Satan introduced piano melodies to the duo’s music, providing a new take on their previously punk-infused sound. “The Denial Twist” is one of the many notable songs from this album. The song highlights how being unfaithful can go deeper than just outward actions.
3. “Apple Blossom”
De Stijl‘s “Apple Blossom” has been praised for its simplicity, which is especially valid as it was recorded in the lead vocalist’s living room. Jack sings “Lots of girls walk around in tears/But that’s not for you/You’ve been looking all around for years/For someone to tell your troubles to.”
4. “In the Cold, Cold Night”
There are very few White Stripes songs that feature Meg on vocals. “In the Cold, Cold Night” off of 2003’s Elephant is one of these songs, and it’s a wonder why she didn’t sing more often. Her voices tranquility shines through especially in this song while only being accompanied by a guitar.
5. “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”
“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” off of 2001’s White Blood Cells offers a raw, garage rock sound that sets the premise for the duo’s third album. This was the first album of theirs which featured all original material and no covers.
6. “The Big Three Killed My Baby”
A lesser known song, “The Big Three Killed My Baby” off of their debut self-titled studio album, is one of the most underrated White Stripes songs and only one of two political songs the duo ever released. In true punk fashion, the song takes a rebellious stance against Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors.
7. “We’re Going to be Friends”
Upon hearing “We’re Going to be Friends” from White Blood Cells, listeners were surprised at the mellow feel of the song that contained no electric guitar. The song has been featured on numerous soundtracks and is one of the duo’s most meaningful.
8. “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)”
The White Stripes’ final studio album, Icky Thump, offered a return to their heavy rock style. “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)” was one of the singles released off the album. The song encapsulates the deep meaning of Jack’s authentic lyrics and shows off both members’ musical talents.
9. “Fell in Love With a Girl”
“Fell in Love With a Girl” is one of the duo’s top hits. While the title may lead to the assumption of a romantic ballad, the song itself offers something completely different. Instead of sappy lyrics, Jack chants, “Fell in love with a girl/I fell in love once and almost completely/She’s in love with the world/Sometimes these feelings can be so misleading.”
10. “Icky Thump”
“Icky Thump” was the title track and first single released from their final studio album. This song is the second of the only two political songs the duo released. The song revolves around immigration policy and won a Grammy in 2008 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.