Everyone is catching the transmission of oral tradition music with Rock & Roll artist Jack White’s second solo album Lazaretto. According to White’s Third Man Records, “Jack White has now seen his sophomore album Lazaretto debut at #1 on the U.S. album chart.” Co-writing with other artists like Blind Willie McTell, his 19- year- old self and hints of Howlin’ Wolf, Lazaretto was crafted to confine his listening audience to not only dig deep into the narrative of the album itself but to catch another glimpse of his artistic engineering at its finest.
Historically, a lazaretto was an island of isolation used notably during the Black Plague for people with infectious diseases that could contaminate the greater masses. Applying this concept to White as an artist, the greater masses of the 21st century are infected by his music. As noted by Third Man Records, White’s second album sold “137,732 during its first week surpassing his 2012 Blunderbuss album.” White not only fights the mainstream realm by refusing to be classified by having blues, rock to even country influences in the album. His intricate detailing to this album hits a new caliber, even more so, when he presses the album to vinyl.
Deep in the grooves White’s 180 gram vinyl is not only helping break down the stereotypes of vinyl taking on an inevitable shelf life but reintroduces it with passionate and intriguing value. A hidden track plays at 78RPM, 45 RPM and 33 1/3 RPM making it a 3-speed record and White and his team also applied what is called dual-groove technology to the record. This consists of having his song “Just One Drink” play an electric and an acoustic introduction, depending where you place the needle, and the two merge for the remainder of the song.
Calling in a friend, White had Infinity Light Scientist Tristan Duke hand etch a secret hologram in the dead wax on Side A of the vinyl which has never been done on pressed albums. As explained on TMR, the “Lazaretto vinyl ULTRA LP has sold over 40,000 copies–the highest first-week vinyl sales since SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991.” So, White is not only taking nostalgic art forms and shoving it in our faces, but rewarding us that follow with beautiful pieces of art for our eyes and ears.
If you are lucky enough to be seeing White and his mates when they journey to Milwaukee on Monday, July 21 at the Rave, I will see you there. If you are unable to attend, I encourage you to lock yourself away and let this music swell inside of you. I promise you, you will not feel the same.