It wasn’t a huge shock when The Raconteurs announced their third album, but it was a pleasant surprise. After eight years it was past due for Jack White, Brendan Benson and the rest of the band to come together and make another record and do a tour. The result of the band working together again is Help Us Stranger, an album that completely overshadows Consolers of the Lonely and is the best thing that White and his cohorts have made yet.
Help Us Stranger has a lot of very cool moments to it, but first and foremost is talking about the album in general. It’s a twelve-song album and it’s a comprehensive piece of music. White still cares about keeping the album precious and he follows his own example as a solo artist and when he plays in his various projects. This record is a pure rock record – it plays like something that would be released in 1979 – not 2019.
As for the moments on this record, there’s a ton of them. Anytime White picks up the guitar and starts playing one of these riffs it sounds magical – the first note with the first song, “Bored and Razed” that’s set and established immediately. The chaotic “Don’t Bother Me” – featuring an angry White screaming about various things – is another great moment. “Only Child” features Benson singing, and its lyrics are tremendous. “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)” sounds a lot like a modern-era version of “Tuesdays Gone” – and it’s brilliant too.
I wish that White would do Raconteurs music full time. I’m not trying to knock his solo work but there’s so many more layers to this music that it’s captivating. Eight years is too long to wait for new music. Regardless if they decide to make more music together or not, it’s easy to appreciate what The Raconteurs did with “Help Us Stranger.”