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A Review of Jack White’s “Fear of the Dawn”

On April 8, 2022, Jack White released his fourth solo album, “Fear of the Dawn.”

The release of this record kicked off what would become a busy day for White. He went on to play the National Anthem at the Detroit Tigers opening game, then got engaged and married to then-girlfriend Olivia Jean on stage at the first performance of his Supply Chain Issues tour in Detroit. 

“Fear of the Dawn” succeeds White’s 2018 album “Boarding House Reach,” an album many deemed experimental in contrast to White’s garage-rock roots. 

However, if “Boarding House Reach” was an experimental period for White, “Fear of the Dawn” is a return to what he knows, inspired by heavy riffs and muddy guitar tones. Musically, “Fear of the Dawn” matches up with White’s first two solo endeavors, “Blunderbuss” and “Lazaretto.”

The first track from “Fear of the Dawn” is “Taking Me Back,” which was released as the album’s first single on Oct. 18, 2021. This song is the perfect example of White’s garage-rock/grunge influences, as it consists of fuzzy guitar tones and White’s forceful vocal melodies.

“Taking Me Back” transitions immediately into the title track, creating a one-two punch of fuzz, distortion and hardcore vocals which sound like chanting rather than singing.

While “Fear of the Dawn” is a departure from “Boarding House Reach’s” experimentalism, the most unorthodox track on this record is “Hi-De-Ho,” a collaboration with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip.

“Hi-De-Ho” starts with a distorted guitar riff, much like White’s other songs, but then immediately leads into a Middle Eastern inspired operatic scale. The song transitions again, this time into a muted guitar riff backed by Q-Tip’s vocals. This is the only collaboration on “Fear of the Dawn,” as well as the only time White has given up lead vocals on a solo record.

“Into the Twilight” is another highlight of the record, beginning with a layering of high-pitched voices to form a haunting madrigal of sorts. This is yet another electrical-based song, and while guitar does predominantly reign over the song, the track also possesses elements of a pop tune.

The closing track, “Shedding My Velvet,” ends the record on a different note, bringing in a more atmospheric sound in contrast to the heaviness felt in the previous 11 songs. The guitar has a clean bluesy sound to it, and White’s vocals are quieter and more subdued, ending the album on a whisper.

White’s “Fear of the Dawn” is overall a fantastic listening experience. Out of 10 stars, I would give it 7. While parts of this album are indeed stronger than others, the record blends together nicely. I think this is a top three Jack White solo album, although this does not amount to much given the fact he only has four albums out currently.

“Fear of the Dawn” is also the first of two album releases planned for 2022. White’s fifth studio album, “Entering Heaven Alive,” is set to release on July 22.

White is no stranger to a busy lifestyle. In addition to being a solo artist, he has led three bands throughout his career. Most famously, he made up half of The White Stripes, who are best known for their stadium hit “Seven Nation Army.”

White is also a businessman, owning his own record company, Third Man Records, as well as Third Man Records’ pressing plant, which opened in Detroit in 2017. White is also a strong advocate for the vinyl record industry.

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