When The White Stripes entered the music world, they brought with them grit and gusto like never seen before. These Detroit rockers re-introduced a garage rock strain that the world had not heard since the sixties with their effortless artistry, furious sound, and daring fashion and style. They have since become the best of two worlds – the old and the new. In this post, we will rank all 6 White Stripes Albums in order of greatness.
6. The White Stripes (1999)
The White Stripes was the band’s debut album, and, as with all debut albums, it was expected to be their best. While the album was more than excellent, they did do better in future works, which is why it ranks at number 6. The White Stripe introduced the band to the world with great singles like St. James’ Infirmary and Screwdriver. The world got to hear the White Stripe’s vicious and strong vocal that flew over the riffs with terrific velocity. We were also introduced to sounds that the band would later perfect. Writing for The Metro Times, Norene Cashen said of the album, “…it serves better to remind us that Detroit’s local identity has more options than a membership card to the latest cliché…” However, the album did not do too well on the charts or sell as many records at first.
5. De Stijl (2000)
De Stijl was released one year after White Stripe’s self-titled debut album as a follow-up. It served to announce the duo’s presence on the main stage and sat them gain traction in the music world. Although the riffs and music are quite similar to the debut album – a furious, garage rock sound – the songwriting had evolved and showed signs of the potential the band would later perfect. The single ‘Apple Blossom’ was particularly catchy, and many fans loved it. De Stijl ranked better than its predecessor, peaking at number 38 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart. However, this charting success came two years later when the band’s popularity began to grow. Today, De Stijl enjoys a cult following among fans of the band due to its simplicity and perfect blend of punk and blues. This is a must-have White Stripes album.
4. White Blood Cells (2001)
The track ‘Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground’ sets the tone for the White Blood Cells album. This and other songs on this 2001 release served to highlight White Stripe’s songwriting genius and duality. On one side of White Blood Cells, you encounter the love-struck, romantic side of the duo that is trying to figure things out in a rough world. On the other side, you meet the rebels that are ready to burn whole buildings to the ground. White Blood Cells is considered the duo’s commercial breakthrough and was certified Platinum in the United States after selling more than 1,000,000 units. It peaked at number 55 in the UK and 61 on the Billboard 200. In both territories, the success was bolstered by the success of “Fell in Love with a Girl,” whose Lego-animation video took the world by storm.
3. Get Behind Me Satan (2005)
Get Behind Me Satan is the White Stripes’ fifth studio album, which they released in 2005. Although the production style remained pretty much the same as previous works, other aspects of the album marked a significant change from the guitar-heavy Elephant – its predecessor. Here, the duo experimented on marimba and replaced most of the guitar with piano, playing down their blues, garage rock, and punk sound. Jack White also gave up his electric guitar for an acoustic guitar, mandolin, and a piano on most tracks, adopting a more rhythmic approach. The changes in Get Behind Me Satan were well-received by fans and critics. The album sold over 850,00 copies in the United States by February 2007. Additionally, Rolling Stone ranked the album as the third-best of the year. In 2006, it won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2006.
2. Icky Thump (2007)
Released through Warner Bros. in 2007, Icky Thump was the sixth and final studio album by White Stripes. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the UK Albums Chart, later selling 223 copies. By July that year, it was certified Gold. Icky Thump then won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album on February 10 the following year. Icky Thump was released to critical acclaim from critics and fans alike. AllMusic writer, Heather Phares, called the album ‘mature but far from stodgy’ and complimented its ‘fuller sound and relaxed flights of fancy.’ In a Rolling Stone article, Icky Thump was ranked at number 17 on the Top 50 Albums of 2007.
1. Elephant (2003)
Elephant was released in 2003 to significant commercial success and critical acclaim. The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 46th Grammy Awards and won Best Alternative Music Album in 2004. On the US Billboard charts, it peaked at number six and rose to the top position on the UK album charts. Critics in later years have called it the best work from the American duo and one of the best albums of the 2000s. Rolling Stone ranked it at 390 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Some of the greatest hits from Elephant, like ‘Hardest Button to Button’ and ‘Ball and Biscuit’, have garnered a cult following. ‘Black Math,’ also released on the album, is considered White Stripes’ best single of all time. It is safe to say that Elephant was the duo’s best album.
The White Stripes released their debut album in mid-1999 and followed it will De Stijl the following year. Their third album, White Blood Cells, propelled them to the top of the charts, cementing their place as alternative rock legends. However, of all the White Stripes Albums, their final release, Icky Thump, gave the band their highest chart position on Billboard 200 at number 2. All in all, the duo has released many impressive albums, and you will not be disappointed with their discography.