The White Stripes are no more. The seminal alt-rock band, formed by Jack and Meg White in 1997, has officially split up. The duo recorded six albums together, scoring hits with "Fell in Love with a Girl" and "Seven Nation Army," and their raw, stripped-down, guitar-heavy sound inspired a host of millennial bands. Here, a selection of rock critics weigh in on the duo's legacy:
They brought back the guitar: At their best, says Luke Lewis at the New Musical Express, The White Stripes "channelled the pure, feel-it-in-your-chest power of rock 'n' roll better than any band." At a time when "guitar music was in the doldrums," they made a generation of "fey indie types fall in love with proper old-fashioned hollering blues" and "memorable guitar riffs."
"The White Stripes - Why they'll be missed"
They wedded blues, garage, and country rock: The end of The White Stripes "also brings to a close a fruitfully nostalgic and fun period of American rock," says Ian S. Port at San Francisco Weekly. The band took the "building blocks of classic rock" — blues, country, and garage — and gave them a "post-grunge era" spin. The result was a "strikingly unique apple pie" of influences and sounds.
"RIP The White Stripes, 1997-2011: An appreciation"
They never lost their underground spirit: The White Stripes "never lost that sense of being a people's band, a bedroom collector's outfit," says Marc Spitz at Vanity Fair. Even when they were selling out Madison Square Garden, "it was okay to still believe that the White Stripes were still 'our' band." Picking up the vinyl edition of Elephant, their fourth album, it was like "you could smell the must of the record shop shelf in the grooves."
"In memoriam: The White Stripes, 1997 to 2011"
They never sold out: At a time when "rock took itself too seriously," says Chris Coplin at Consequence of Sound, The White Stripes were defiantly theatrical. From the "secretive," totally made-up back story ("no, they aren't siblings"), to their "black, white, and red clothing," they showed that "being true to yourself is the most rock star thing you could ever do."
"The White Stripes: Music's last great rock band?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- Hey, grammar nerds! Stop freaking out about 'alot.'
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week