5. Jack White - Lazaretto
Musically, Jack White's second solo LP after the dissolution of the White Stripes is very much what you'd expect. It sounds like a classic bluesy rock record that could have been recorded at almost any point in the last 70 years... while at the same time also sounding utterly contemporary. Lyrically, however, it is deeper, angrier, funnier and more intriguing than anything he's ever written. And, as the Lynchian video for Would You Fight For My Love? proves, it is by far the coolest record of the year.
The album opens with a hilarious remake of Blind Willie McTell's braggadocious Three Women in which JW boasts of having three women - one in California, one in Nashville, and one in Detroit - all of whom seem happy to put up with his polygamous antics.
Well, these women must be
Cause they come and see me
Air miles, perhaps?
The title track, in which Jack gets quarantined on the Isle of Man (that's what a Lazaretto is, in case you were wondering, an isolated quarantine station for sailors) is Jack's Bohemian Rhapsody or Paranoid Android. Utterly insane, loud as hell, unlike anything you've ever heard before and fearlessly released to radio as an opening single... possibly the least radio-friendly track on the album, at least until you've heard it ten times when, BANG, it suddenly sounds like a Number One.
Meanwhile, High Ball Stepper makes instrumentals vital again - it ought to be a theme tune for an action-packed TV detective show, while on Entitlement, Grumpy Old Jack goes off on one about "Kidz These Days"...
There are children today who are lied to...before pissing on all our chips...
They're told the world is rightfully theirs
They can have what they want
Whenever they want
They take like Caesar
And nobody cares
Not one single person
On God's golden shore
Is entitled to one single thing
We don't deserve a single damn thing.
Hands up if you honestly feel you can disagree with him?
And then there's the glorious That Black Bat Licorice, in which Jack unleashes a ballsy pop-rap anthem that Pink or Lady Gaga would have given their perfectly white star teeth for. Or maybe it's Jack does Purple Rain era Prince? Whatever, it's utterly spectacular. Just like the rest of this album...
Next, at Number #4... ITMA. Victim - or life's adventurer? Which of the two is he...?