The White Stripes' Ode to Dumpster Diving

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Rag and Bone"
  • Artist: The White Stripes
  • CD: Icky Thump
  • Genre: Rock
On The White Stripes' "Rag and Bone," drummer Meg White finally gets to showcase her personality.

On The White Stripes' "Rag and Bone," drummer Meg White finally gets to showcase her personality. Autumn de Wilde hide caption

itoggle caption Autumn de Wilde

The White Stripes' Jack White has kept such a short leash on drummer Meg White — even admitting to having taken steps to retard her development as a drummer — that on the few songs on which she's had the opportunity to sing ("It's True That We Love One Another," "Passive Manipulation"), she's been unable to show much of a personality.

That changes on "Rag and Bone," The White Stripes' ode to Dumpster diving. Built almost exclusively around a one-chord boogie (what few deviations there are seem more like flourishes than actual changes), it in some ways barely qualifies as a song. It's structured like a simplified "Hot for Teacher," mostly revving in neutral as it plays out like a sketch punctuated by blasts of bluesy rock.

During the song's spoken-word sections, White finally takes the opportunity to let her hair down. Her counterpart may be in charge as usual, his huckster charm in full bloom. (Note how he seems to never stop to take a breath or let his mark take one.) But her interjections — a single surprised "Ooh!" or a delighted whisper of "This fits me perfect!" as well as various pouts and nods of assent — paint her as an active, equal contributor to The White Stripes' dialogue, rather than someone who's merely along for the ride. It's still an infantile persona, to be sure; Jack White's guidance has all but guaranteed that. But six albums in, she shows her first real spark.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

Icky Thump

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Icky Thump
Artist
The White Stripes

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.