Let’s start with Connected by Love, because Jack does. It’s the first song on his new, wild and crazy ride, “Boarding House Reach” on his own Third Man Records label. Why does he start here? Probably several reasons. First, it’s the most straightforward song on the album and the obvious single. But second, and more important, it’s the theme of the whole thing. From here, the album descends into the experimental, getting stranger and crazier by the song, but through it all, you can tell … He loves what he’s doing.

Here comes track #2….

Why Walk a Dog? I don’t know what the answer is, but this song is a slow hipsway through some kind of grinding meander that feels deeply personal and resonates with me, even if I have no idea why. Then we go into Corporation, another relatively straightforward cut that sounds a lot like the kind of heavy blues made by Jon Spencer and Jack White himself back in his White Stripes days, with a “who’s with me?” break straight out of 1980s hip hop (think Apache). And on Ice Station Zebra, Jack himself flat out raps.

I see this album getting fairly negative reviews on line for being too weird. The pretentious assholes at Pitchfuck gave it a 4. But if this was some twee spanish girl, it would be a 10. The haters hate it because it’s Jack White, and they were looking for more of the same. I admire his reach on this one. Even on tracks that are too ponderous to want to listen to more than twice, and the mini “sermons” scattered between a few tracks, I had fun hearing the attempt.

I’m with you, Jack.

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