Music News

The White Stripes broke up. So what?

Meg and Jack White officially called it quits today via announcement on their web site. On balance, we'd describe this as not a huge development, considering they haven't released any new material in three and a half years and they're nearly ten years on the downhill side of their creative peak. Plus, it's not like Jack White is going to put down his guitar.

The eulogizing currently taking place on the internet would have you believe Jack and Meg had both just been eaten by a snow monster in Chicago or something. This makes sense, of course -- the end of anything is always cause for dredging up the highlights from the past. So go ahead and spin the crap out of White Blood Cells and Elephant, but stop acting so shocked. The writing has been on the wall for a long time now.

The amazing thing that's happening right now is the micro-MJ effect instantaneously happening to the Stripe's reputation. In the past hour, this band has become the most significant rock band of the past decade. Whether they truly deserve to be in the conversation or not, it's clear that the canonization has already begun. Their web site crashed shortly after the announcement, one assumes due to a flood of traffic. It's back up now, promising the continued release of White Stripes material on Jack's Third Man Records imprint (which, not incidentally, is the big winner here). The duo's official statement makes it sound sort of like they're un-caging a dove:

The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.

Fly free, you sloppy beautiful guitar rock. Fly free.

Related Stories: "White Stripes Air Force Super Bowl Commercial pulled" by Dave Herrera (2010)

"Air Force Reserve's Super Bowl Commercial allegedly rips off White Stripes" by Thorin Klosowski (2010)

The White Stripes - Icky Thump review by Michael Roberts (2007)

"White Noise: Who does Jack White think he is?" by By Michael Alan Goldberg (2005)

"Unchanged Stripes: Jack and Meg White resist the spoils of success" by By Bob Cantu (2002) "Backwash: Detroit's White Stripes will save your savage soul" by Laura Bond (2001)

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Kiernan Maletsky is Westword's music editor. His writing has appeared in alt-weeklies around the country as well as Miley Cyrus's mom's Twitter feed.
Contact: Kiernan Maletsky