Spin It Round, Flip It and Reverse It

This has nothing to do with music, but see Knocked Up. It was probably the best comedy I’ve seen since I don’t even know when. At least since Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence, I’d say. But in all seriousness, it was fantastic in every way. What was particularly great was how it met and then exceeded my expectations. It was probably the movie I anticipated with the most excitement this summer and left the theater totally satisfied.

The summer months not only bring a gazillion sequels and comedies to the big screen (Rise of the Silver Surfer, holla!), but also a bunch of new records. Most anticipated by myself, and anyone that matters, is the nonsensically titled White Stripes record, Icky Thump.

The album will hit stores on June 19 and after hearing their first single of the same name, that Tuesday can’t come soon enough. Maybe one of the best Stripes’ radio songs for a very long time “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” the organ swirling mess indicates only good can come from the album.

This past week in Chicago, radio listeners got to hear Icky Thump in its entirety a little bit early. It took a lot of people by surprise, including Mr. Jack White himself. At 2 p.m., Q101, the alternative station that plays everything from Linkin Park to Peter Bjorn and John, broke from the rotation to play the album track for track.

The album hadn’t leaked on the Internet, believe it or not, so this was the first chance the public had to hear the album. Not a band or label supported promotion by any means, the radio station took it upon themselves to play this album weeks before its release just for kicks.

It was all well and good until a couple hours later, Jack White phoned in to the station long distance from Spain spitting venom. On all accounts a totally bizarre situation, it’s hard to figure out what to think.

On one hand it’s pretty sweet that a DJ would ignore the confining restrictions of her Clear Channel employer and play not only fantastic music but also an entire, from what I’m told, fantastic album. She also kind of disregarded the music industry machine and Warner Records by playing one of their CDs without any permission. The DJ basically stuck it to three groups I despise the most; radio industry, record industry and the punks who really wanted to hear Godsmack on their lunch break.

On the other hand there are artists’ rights and all that to deal with. Jack White has a legitimate right to be livid. His art was presented in a way that he didn’t approve of. A week before, according to a blog comment, the same Q101 DJ, Electra, played the entire new Linkin Park album one afternoon and it went completely unnoticed. No one cares about Linkin Park, not even their fans (they’re too preoccupied with puberty and bagging groceries). But when a respected artist gets involved it becomes a debate. People who steal music and download leaks take Jack’s side because of his credibility.

It’s selective morality, really. If a station played all of Trapped in the Closet by R. Kelly it’d be hilarious and awesome. He’s a pedophile and a joke so it’s OK to misuse his work, just like Linkin Park (minus the pedophilia?).

Next to Thom Yorke, Jack White will be seen as one of the most important musicians of our modern era, but looking beyond that what does this whole fiasco mean for music as a whole? I really have no clue, but a respected man of music like Jack White, someone who seems to stand for going against the grain, to tell a radio station trying to do something new and different that it can’t under his watch, is shady to me. Bossing around a radio station, like a major label goon? Is his music autobiographical? It seems like he’s being a pimp and a prostitute too.

Leave a Reply