AOTY 2023
Jack White - Boarding House Reach
Nov 13, 2021 (updated Nov 18, 2021)
Didn't you try to say "Esmeralda"?

Eh... time to take on a divisive album. I've always wanted to listen to "Boarding House Reach" because, well, Fantano gave it a 9, that means it's good, right? Look, I've heard tracks of off this thing multiple times already, and never have they done anything for me aside from directly telling me not to listen to this because I wouldn't like it, but, being stubborn wins again, so well.

Before anything, I just wonder, why is this so divisive? I truly just wonder that because... well, this album isn't that grandiose nor that bad cause so many people do not know how to feel.

It's true that it's super weird at times, but, there are way weirder blues albums out there, just listen to Tom Waits. Not to say this is on the level of something like "Rain Dogs", because, unlike that album, this one just feels boring and pretentious for the most part, and the lyrics aren't impressive or charming at all, but, I don't see why it feels as if some people label it as "misunderstood masterpiece", or "pretentious piece of trash" when I think it's neither. I know I'm looking at this from my perspective, and I know it may come off as selfish in some ways, and perhaps it's just that I didn't feel impressed at all with the project, but, I just don't see how anyone could label the album as either of the things I mentioned before.

Overall, the whole thing just felt like an above-average experimental effort. I can appreciate some things, the experimentation with the vocals in multiple tracks, the more bluesy songs that feel emotional and similar to the good ones The White Stripes made, the shot at different instrumentation styles in songs such as "Get In The Mind Shaft", but at the same time, so many things bring it down. Was it necessary to throw that poetry bit there? Why is "Respect Commander" so long? What's the point of that "Everything You've Ever Learned" song? That's the thing, the album has some really solid pros, but the sheer pretentiousness of "hey look! It's an experimental album, I'm doing this weird thing for the sake of it", brings it dramatically down from what it could truly be.

This album isn't bad, but, it isn't that great either. It's not even worth talking about for that long because, at the end of the day, it just doesn't even leave an impression, or at least it doesn't leave one for long, just ask the critics that gave this a 9 or a 10, did they take this album into account again for the decade end list? No, not even after the fact it came out 2 years prior, JUST 2 YEARS.

This album's average and that's it, and that isn't even the biggest sin it commits, I mean, how the hell are you going to write "Ezmerelda" like that!? C'mon Jack.

Sign in to comment.
Rate and review albums along with the AOTY community. Create an account today.
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.
More Reviews

November Playlist