Oh, look: It's another article about the White Stripes. Is it really necessary right now? At this point in their career, they've reached total and complete media saturation. Every magazine and glossy worth its staples has run a piece on the duo, to the extent that we at the local rag were deemed not important enough to speak with the almighty Oz. Their love life, fashion choices, musical styling, influences and brand of underwear have been covered, recovered and beat to death worse than a crime suspect resisting arrest. The White Stripes have played the European megafestivals, sold out tours, and even done a multi-night residency on Conan O'Brien. So why should we bother giving the White Stripes more ink?
When it comes right down to it, overexposure is just one of the many reasons for the Stripes backlash that's fomented among "hipsters." However, there is one reason why, when enough paper has been devoted to the White Stripes to cover an entire third world country several times over, we should consider presenting a piece on them, and, quite simply, it's that their songs rock. "Hotel Yorba" contains the persistent power to please, with its simple back beat and acoustic strumming warming the heart with feelings of puppy love. "Seven Nation Army" has the swagger and panache of a stripped-down version of early Led Zeppelin. "You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)" is an amplified ballad of unrequited lust, an anthem for every loner looking in from the outside. These songs, and others, have the power to move in a primal way. Their visceral directness injects them into the bloodstream, where they flow to both the brain and the booty. Bold in their starkness, the songs are the only reason the Stripes are still worth talking about.