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Jack White - Entering Heaven Alive (Album Review)

Wednesday, 27 July 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: David James Swanson

Jack White’s second record of 2022 sees the mercurial Michigander and former White Stripe deliver 11 tracks of quieter, more intellectual rock-roots music, bolstered by rich, textured arrangements and ever melodious guitar stylings.

It’s a far cry from his previous offering ‘Fear of the Dawn’, which offered up unhinged rock scuzz, and supplied a commercial soundtrack for the latest instalment of the wartime bloodbath video game, Call of Duty.

At this stage of his career, White is in the super-producer category. One of the things that garners that ‘super’ prefix is that his own music is a sought after commodity on its own, providing both an auteur signature and a bankable sound for collaborators. Its quality on ‘Entering Heaven Alive’ is hard to miss.

A Tree on Fire from Within is a piano-led ballad, full of honky tonk reverb and pastoral philosophising, while All Along the Way pairs sumptuous guitar picking with a solid, organic arrangement and fireside storytelling. We're in his balladic comfort zone, which is a good thing.

That said, one thing that emerges on the record is the presence of some pretty cheesy lyrics. White has always trod a line between cliché and innovation but the words on Love is Selfish cannot go unnoticed: "I'm on a train, but I can not rest upon it, I'm on a train, but it won't stay on the rails / And I've got a sailboat with her name painted on it," etc. This feels like the kind of thing that David Brent would write.

And it re-emerges on If I Die Tomorrow, a song whose title itself sounds like it was penned by an 18-year-old at a sixth form battle of the bands. Both tracks are fine, ultimately, but the risk is that because of their broadness they become the most popular at live shows and change the gigging experience for fans and White himself. It sounds like a minor thing but dumbing down your work in the chasing of hits can be terminal for artists who thrive on integrity.

Maybe he’s here for it. Over a 25 year career, White has developed one of the most versatile personas in rock, and maybe throwback Bon Jovi with blue hair is the next stage. But one would hope not—one would hope he is more single-minded than to capitulate to the late stage capitalism of stadium cheese.

Jack White Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat August 13 2022 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - Armory Minneapolis (USA)
Sun August 14 2022 - WEST DES MOINES Iowa - Val Air Ballroom (USA)
Tue August 16 2022 - MILWAUKEE Wisconsin - UWM Panther Arena (USA)
Wed August 17 2022 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park (USA)
Fri August 19 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - Budweiser Stage Toronto (Canada)
Sat August 20 2022 - FLINT Michigan - Whiting (USA)
Sun August 21 2022 - LEWISTON New York - Artpark (USA)
Tue August 23 2022 - PORTLAND Maine - Cross Insurance Arena (USA)
Wed August 24 2022 - BALTIMORE Maryland - Pier Six Pavilion (USA)
Thu August 25 2022 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre (USA)
Sat August 27 2022 - HUNTSVILLE Alabama - Orion Amphitheater (USA)
Sun August 28 2022 - MARYLAND HEIGHTS Missouri - Saint Louis Music Park (USA)
Mon August 29 2022 - KANSAS CITY Missouri - Starlight Theatre (USA)
Thu September 15 2022 - LOUISVILLE Kentucky - Bourbon and Beyond (USA)
Fri September 16 2022 - ASHEVILLE North Carolina - Rabbit Rabbit (USA)
Mon September 19 2022 - SAINT AUGUSTINE Florida - St. Augustine Amphitheatre (USA)
Tue September 20 2022 - MIAMI Florida - James L Knight Center (USA)
Wed September 21 2022 - ORLANDO Florida - Hard Rock Live Orlando (USA)
Fri September 23 2022 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Fillmore (USA)
Sun September 25 2022 - SHREVEPORT Louisiana - Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium (USA)
Tue September 27 2022 - OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma - Criterion - OKC (USA)
Fri September 30 2022 - TUCSON Arizona - Tucson Music Hall (USA)
Sat October 01 2022 - DANA POINT - Doheny State Beach (USA)

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