Boarding House Reach

Jack White - Boarding House Reach
Critic Score
Based on 40 reviews
2018 Ratings: #601 / 841
User Score
Based on 792 ratings
2018 Ratings: #431
Liked by 16 people
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That he’s produced such a full, lush sounding thing packed with personality and life is impressive – but not surprising.
American Songwriter

In many ways, this is as radical, experimental and mind-expanding of a pop album as you’re likely to hear anytime soon, let alone by a festival headlining artist.


‘Boarding House Reach’ is easily one of the most layered and compelling releases of 2018, which furthers White’s legacy as one of the few remaining mavericks in music.


Boarding House Reach may be a hard pill to swallow, but it's rarely boring and without a doubt the most far-reaching, experimental collection of songs in White's ample discography.

The Needle Drop

Jack White's Boarding House Reach is his most unorthodox stroke of genius since going solo.

Jack is and always has been a true weirdo with a brain that operates like no other. And here, he’s on gloriously eccentric form.
The Telegraph

There is ultimately something sketchy about Boarding House Reach, pulling in so many directions that it suggests rough drafts for more fully formed work to come. But for all that, there are so many rich ingredients in the mix, even misophones should find something to soothe their troubled ears.


Boarding House Reach is easily his most “produced” album, though it’s far from a smooth listening experience.

Drowned in Sound

Boarding House Reach is a firm fuck you to complacent, screen-staring, Trump-submitting America, its social media–based icons and neatly-packaged pop songs about cars and pills. It’s esoteric and unsettling, because he’s done trying to reason with us.

FLOOD Magazine

This record, while not entirely “bizarre,” is either adventurously or confusedly all over the place (most likely the former). But wouldn’t you know—White actually sounds like he’s having a blast not having to be his usual self.

A.V. Club
In his White Stripes days, White often showed up to recording sessions without any new songs, trusting that once he and Meg started playing, inspiration would strike. This new record attempts something similar, and ends up as an astonishing snapshot of a notoriously persnickety creator, exploring the ultimate aesthetic contradiction: forcing himself to be more free.
Spectrum Culture

Boarding House Reach is just crazy enough to make it work—and with this as his point of departure, it’s now refreshingly impossible to predict where White will go next.

Consequence of Sound
It feels like a natural evolution for the singer/songwriter/guitar-master who’s made a career out of channeling bluesy bombast with punk rock-style urgency. This time he just added more funky freak-outs.
His latest is his first true departure, and the unfamiliarity is at once a challenge to absorb and also a fascinating turnabout from an artist who is demonstrating that he is more willing—and able—than most to subvert the expectations he’s created for himself.
The Line of Best Fit

This is no album of the year contender, nor will it rank too highly on White's saggish discography. Instead, it's thirteen songs of creative madness. Jack White may not be as relevant as he once was, but his ambition is still just as strong, twenty years on.


Not only are these the strangest songs White has ever written, he's now got the eclectic instrumentation to match. These 13 tracks feature a synth-heavy sonic palette and freewheeling structures that White stitched together from extended studio jams, resulting in a postmodern mashup of vintage and futuristic.


Even in the earliest days of the White Stripes, White limited his aural palette with deliberate zeal, a practice he sustained through the Stripes as well as his first two solo albums. Boarding House Reach is where he expands his horizons and that discipline begins to fracture, and quite intentionally so.

Rolling Stone
It's his strangest record, but per usual, it shows his continued devotion to rock's dark arts: the tangled cultural roots, "mistake"-enhanced recording traditions, self-righteous fury and fetchingly-deranged megalomania.
Northern Transmissions

White has called Boarding House Reach “bizarre.” But it’s messier than it is bizarre.

Slant Magazine

A postmodern assault of freaked-out sonic ataxia, it's messy, wildly uneven, and at times even close to unlistenable, but its sheer audacity makes it utterly intriguing.

The Independent
There’s an ever-present feel of the extempore about these tracks, which sometimes seem to succeed through sheer persistence, and sometimes struggle to coalesce into something worthwhile.
The Guardian

Boarding House Reach resembles less a coherent album than a miscellany of ideas – or a collection of B-sides, with all the good and bad that entails.

NOW Magazine

Boarding House Reach is… weird. White’s third solo album is ambitious, fuzzy, and futuristic but it’s not inherently bad, just weird. It’s certainly not an album for the past and it’s not one that fits exactly in the present.

No Ripcord

With his third solo LP, Jack White hits the nail on the head just as often as he misses it spectacularly on a haphazard record.

Pretty Much Amazing

Of all the bad records from popular artists in the past few years, Everything Now, Painting With, Songs of Innocence, Jack White has created the best kind of bad record, one that is packed full of ideas like a children’s book that got struck by lightning. Whether you love or hate Boarding House Reach, one thing is obvious, it is not boring.

Sadly, the years have steadily whittled the playfulness from White’s material. His work is now too lumbering and unmoored for anyone to take much pleasure in it.
Under The Radar

On Boarding House Reach, Jack White has given himself free reign to do whatever he wants. But like a child let loose in a candy store, he has eaten way more than his fill and vomited all over the floor.

Loud and Quiet

More concerning ... given White’s fondness for conceptual heft, is how lightweight it is. So preoccupied he seems with how he could make an album this strangely self-absorbed, he never stopped to wonder if he should.

God Is in the TV

On Boarding House Reach he sounds like he’s desperately trying to prove how clever he is to his listeners, frankly, you wish he’d just write a few more decent songs first because this record is often so frantic, that all of the songs become a blur with very few standouts. Listening to it just leaves me wanting to reach for the pain killers.

Boarding House Reach? more like... BORING HOUSE REACH!!! HAHAHaaaaa

Edit: Original Score 71. I have good days with this album and bad days. It’s overall an extremely coherent experience that works in a very avant-garde way. I kinda like it
Who'd have though we'd live to see a day when Jack Black makes better music than Jack White? What a time to be alive.

“Rock is dead.” A phrase that is all too often thrown around.

In the past 30 years, rock has steadily declined in prominence, with adult-alternative bands, like Train and Maroon 5, and arena rock/electro-pop fusion bands, such as Coldplay and Imagine Dragons, continuing to water down the once highly name of rock music. While many have hailed traditionalist bands such as Greta Van Fleet (and Tame Impala, to a certain extent) as the 'saviors of rock,' I believe ... read more
excellent album from Jack White, easily some of his best material.
I can definitely appreciate the experimentation and the decision to do something more daring this time around, but it all just feels too uncalculated and inconsequential for me to pull anything from it. Whilst Blunderbuss & Lazaretto were definitely much safer albums, I think they had a lot more going for them in regards to quality grooves/hooks & songwriting, this just feels hollow and disassembled by comparison, couldn't get into it.
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Year End Lists

#9/Yahoo Music
#12/The Needle Drop

Track List

  1. Connected By Love
  2. Why Walk a Dog?
  3. Corporation
  4. Abulia and Akrasia
  5. Hypermisophoniac
  6. Ice Station Zebra
  7. Over and Over and Over
  8. Everything You've Ever Learned
  9. Respect Commander
  10. Ezmerelda Steals The Show
  11. Get In The Mind Shaft
  12. What's Done Is Done
  13. Humoresque
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Added on: January 10, 2018