Skip to content

Jack White – Entering Heaven Alive: Return to Grace.

We no longer hoped for it after the wanderings of recent years, but by returning to a more playful music, which he seems to play above all for his pleasure, Jack White offers us with his Entering Heaven Alive his best album in a very long time.

Jack White – Photo Sara Paige – Third Man Records

After the very heavy and occasionally experimental Fear of the Dawnwhich reconciled a number of fans of Jack White with their idol, here is the second album promised for this year, Entering Heaven Alive. And, a bit like what has regularly done Neil Youngthat White knows well and which perhaps becomes a kind of new model for him, after an electric and modern album, here is a more acoustic record – finally, partially – and above all more… traditional. And why not ?

Entering Heaven AliveBeginning paradoxically with what will turn out to be one of his less good titles, A Tip from You to Me – insignificant, which immediately infuses a certain anxiety in us, in the register “all that for that? », Entering Heaven Alive isn’t the advertised Americana/bluegrass record – kidding? – by White, and will on the contrary gradually unfold in a multitude of unexpected genres (jazz, bossa, etc.). And therefore turns out to be an excellent surprise, while keeping the characteristics of the classic compositions of White since the White Stripes. All Along the Way is a marvel, beginning in a primitive folk format before culminating in a near-nervous breakdown typical of its author. Help Me Along looks a bit like one of those traditional, somewhat anecdotal ballads – that the Beatles (or rather McCartney) wrote and included on their albums to release the pressure between two more ambitious titles, with a baroque orchestration whose degree of seriousness cannot be appreciated. Love is Selfish clearly eyeing the acoustic side of the Loner, but Jack’s voice infuses a very different, and very characteristic, emotion.

And then comes I’ve Got You Surrounded (With My Love)the indisputable pinnacle of the album: blues, swing, jazzy, with guitar wah wah galore, constantly surprising with its unexpected turns, full of soul, that’s probably what the new Jack White can offer us the best in 2022, experimentation as he likes, but without sacrificing either musical subtlety, or taking away from his music this “soul” which made it all the prize at the time of the White Stripes. From there, the game is won for Jack, and even people as reluctant as us to his current approach must admit that Entering Heaven Alive exudes incredible class. And puts its author back in the forefront of musicians who matter.

Queen of the Bees is another baroque entertainment, which slants towards a kind of 40s-50s US variety: but the ease with which it is able to approach almost any musical style, this elegance with which it plays it, with a sense of l Humor which has not been his most obvious characteristic until now, all of this leads us to believe that Jack is finally assuming his destiny, without complex. The irresistible melody of A Tree on Fire From Within dots the i’s, with an ease, an obviousness that his last albums lacked. If I Die Tomorrow rediscovers English folk accents, even evoking a sort of Nick Drake who would have clearly triumphed over his sadness and rise to a triumphant serenity.

Please God, Don’t Tell Anyonenot so far from Dylan from the most roots period, is slightly below the previous titles, but A Madman from Manhattan, with its breaks in tone and rhythms, and its very cinematic narration, is another absolutely magnificent piece of this puzzle that is this album. The wink-like conclusion represented by the country/bluegrass version, with extra folk violin, of taking me back allows the album to close on a real joy of living, a supreme pleasure to play which is the best description of this new phase of the work of Jack White.

Eventually, unexpectedly, Entering Heave Alive turns out to be the most human, the most direct, the most touching, the most… pleasant to listen to album that Jack White has offered us for years… Let’s hope, not bet that thanks to this immediacy, this rediscovered sincerity, Jack White will definitely have regained grace.

Eric Debarnot

Jack White – Taking Me Back
Label: Third Man Records
Release date: July 22, 2022

Jack White – Fear of the Dawn: hard rock and uncontrolled skids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.