Entering Heaven Alive

Jack White

Entering Heaven Alive

“When I work on music, I always feel like I’m trying to do something new,” Jack White tells Apple Music. “But I know quite often I’m taking things that worked in the past that I think are less well-known, or they’re interesting or idiosyncratic or whatever it is, and juxtaposing it with something I’ve never done before.” In the case of Entering Heaven Alive—his second album of 2022, after Fear of the Dawn—that might mean gothic folk with a reggae coda (“All Along the Way”) or a mellow, Neil Young-style jam overlaid with nursery-rhyme rapping (“A Madman From Manhattan”). But where Fear of the Dawn felt almost confrontationally eccentric, Heaven is rustic and restrained: the marital oath of “Help Me Along,” the Celtic waltz of “Please God, Don’t Tell Anyone.” Then there’s something like “A Tree on Fire From Within,” whose lyrics are as obscure and enigmatic as its music is robust—a mix that not only characterizes White’s best songs, but the early blues he often calls back to. But this is the dynamic with White, who, like Paul McCartney, is as equally capable of writing “Honey Pie” as he is “Let It Be,” and whose most interesting stuff tends to fall somewhere in between. He isn’t breaking tradition, nor is he perpetuating it—he’s building on it. Or, as he puts it, “jump[ing] in the river that’s already moving.”

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