Jack White Thumbs Nose at Music Critics

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


mojo-photo-raconteurs2.jpgWell, I suppose it’s our own fault. In a move that echoes Radiohead’s surprise announcement of an impending album last fall, Jack White’s wear-whatever-colors-we-want band the Raconteurs have just announced via their website that they’ll release a new album, Consolers of the Lonely, next Tuesday on all formats. But unlike Radiohead, Jack White seems to be a little bitter about, ulp, music critics who jump the gun by reviewing promotional releases or leaks:

We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception… the Raconteurs would rather this release not be defined by it’s first weeks sales, pre-release promotion, or by someone defining it FOR YOU before you get to hear it.

Wow, and all-caps, even. That’s internet for shouting!

After the jump: critics, can’t live with ’em, can’t crush their heads in vices.

Seriously, though, are critics “defining” releases for people? Especially in this day and age, with the proliferation of tha bloggz, it seems like critics actually outnumber non-critics, so I’ve always personally felt that sharing my opinions about stuff is merely adding to the conversation (and also hopefully entertaining readers) … (insert cricket chirping sounds here). As an artist myself, I know that a bad review (or even a great review that maybe mentions one small quibble) can send me into a vodka-soaked depression, but that’s par for the course, and honestly I can’t imagine being bothered by an early review. Shouldn’t even an artist of White’s stature be pleased with the attention? So, this statement is pretty silly, and as the Guardian points out, “anti-marketing” is a marketing gimmick itself, and one that only bands who have benefited from the already-existing music industry setup are now free to utilize:

It’s a shame that it’s only really viable for an act which, including as it does Jack White, already possesses both presumed financial security and an existing audience. If nobody had heard of the Raconteurs, then without pre-publicity, they might as well shoot the album into space as release it to an oblivious public, regardless of format, date, content or the best of intentions.

Hey, don’t knock space aliens as a target demographic, I hear they love the Beatles. Anyway, the Raconteurs are generally pretty great, and at least they’re selling 320kbps mp3s of the new album on their own website, which, again, you can get next Tuesday, March 25th.

Photo used under a creative commons license from Flickr user Hoodrat.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest